No. 3 Johnston tips FD boys
Dragons hang on for 51-47 home victory over Dodgers
JOHNSTON — On very rare occasions, Fort Dodge boys basketball coach Tom Daniel walks away from a loss feeling at peace.
His team’s effort at third-ranked (Class 4A) Johnston certainly qualified as one of those performances.
Daniel’s Dodgers took the powerhouse Dragons down to the final horn in a 51-47 setback here on Friday. Fort Dodge (6-5 overall, 4-2 in the CIML Iowa Conference) led at halftime, and only a third-quarter lull kept the visitors from seriously challenging Johnston (10-1, 6-0) at the end.
”I don’t heap praise on a loss very often, but we gave it everything we had,” Daniel said. ”We were a play or two away, either offensively or defensively. And I hate to even say that, because we were very good on both ends of the court.
”Our ability to play a high-end level of basketball against one of the best teams in the state was verified. We came down here to win. And just because we didn’t and aren’t looking for moral victories doesn’t mean (the coaches) can’t be pleased with how things went overall.”
Senior guard Malcolm Clayton had a game-high 20 points for the Dodgers, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. Junior Jordan Jackson added eight points, sophomore Tysen Kershaw contributed seven, and senior Trey Mosley finished with six.
Clayton and Jackson played all 32 minutes, with Mosley taking only what Daniel called ”a 30-second breather.” Kershaw battled foul trouble.
”We were up by one at halftime and down only 38-36 with about three minutes left,” Daniel said. ”To Johnston’s credit, they made their free throws down the stretch and we split (foul shots) three different times, which wound up costing us.
”Of course when you lose by such a close margin, you look back and think of the little things that might have led to a different outcome. But I’m not going to split hairs. We were right there.”
Bo Sandquist scored all 14 of his points in the second half for the Dragons, who had won seven of their nine contests by at least 23 points coming in. Sandquist was perfect at the charity stripe down the stretch, and hit Johnston’s only two three-point baskets.
”Our defense was outstanding,” Daniel said. ”Sandquist got loose on two out-of-bounds plays for three-pointers, and he kept knocking down free throws. They did what they had to do to close the game out.”
The Dragons had been averaging 64.7 points and nine triples per game before Friday.
Fort Dodge takes on Sioux City North at home this Tuesday, before hosting rival Mason City on Friday.
JOHNSTON 51, FORT DODGE 47
Johnston — Boston Grimes 9, Bo Sandquist 14, Camden Vander Zwaag 6, Peyton Williams 12, Nathan Newcomb 6, Chandler Heiser 4.
Fort Dodge — Malcolm Clayton 20, Rodney Tilawen 2, Trey Mosley 6, Jace Peterson 1, Tysen Kershaw 7, Jordan Jackson 8, Aaron Porter 3.
Quarter scores: Fort Dodge led 9-8, 20-19; Johnston led 32-27.