Dodger boys fall to Ankeny

Fort Dodge boys basketball coach Tom Daniel is more concerned with seeing signs of progression than scoreboard watching during the early stages of this season.

Daniel knows any positive strides made now could very well pay dividends for his team down the road.

So while the Dodgers were handed their third loss in five days on Friday — 83-55 at the hands of Ankeny — the margin of defeat wasn’t what Daniel talked to his players about in the locker room afterward.

“I know what it looks like on paper, but I told them I think we had a better overall performance than we did on Tuesday (in a home loss to Des Moines Lincoln) — which is the kind of day-to-day improvement we need right now,” Daniel said. “We have an inexperienced group that was tasked with a four-game schedule in the first week (of play). That’s a lot to ask (of a squad) still figuring out its own identity. But the CIML waits for no one. No (opponent) is going to feel sorry for us.

“We need to make sure we’re growing and learning, rather than regressing. And I think there are some things we did well — building blocks to move forward. We’re in a valley right now, and we all have to climb our way out of it together.”

The Hawks, who defeated 2018 Class 4A state tournament qualifier Des Moines North on Tuesday, shot a precise 57 percent from the field and knocked down 10 three-point goals in a game that was never in doubt. Ankeny had 24 points by the end of the opening quarter alone, then went on an 8-0 run to close the first half to extend a nine-point advantage to 39-22.

A three-pointer to start the third period by FDSH senior Malihk Lockman was as close as the Dodgers would get the rest of the way. A 21-8 Hawk burst from that point on put the contest completely out of reach.

Senior forward Jordan Jackson had 15 points for the Dodgers, making 7 of his 11 shots from the field. In his first appearance of the season, 6-foot-4 reserve Grant Barber added nine points. Junior Asle Thorson also contributed seven off the bench.

“Grant gave us good minutes for his first time out, as did Asle for the second straight game. His improvement this week is exactly what we’re looking for,” Daniel said. “Hustle, stay active, compete, play to your strengths.

“I’m not questioning our effort at all. The kids are playing hard. It’s more a matter of being smarter and cleaning up the mistakes. Turning the ball over almost 20 times, missing free throws, giving up easy layups or putbacks because we’re not boxing out — good teams like Ankeny will eat us alive if we don’t take care of that.”

Senior point guard Jaxon Smith paced the balanced Hawk attack with 17 points, and veteran Dillon Carlson chipped in 11. The Ankeny bench accumulated 39 points, making 15 of 23 field goals and 6 of 9 from deep.

“They throw a lot of looks at you, and really pressure the ball defensively,” Daniel said. “I think they’ll be a legitimate Top-10 team minimum this year.

“When you’re down 20 or 25 points, it’s kind of a character-revealing moment. We didn’t stop working hard, we weren’t pointing fingers and we weren’t turning on each other. Again, to give ourselves a chance (in the near future), we have to first keep our heads up and stay on the same page attitude-wise.”

Fort Dodge has another varsity game Saturday — weather permitting — at 2 p.m. against Urbandale (0-1) in the Dodger gym. The J-Hawks lost to Des Moines Hoover on Tuesday in their opener, 57-47.

ANKENY 83, FORT DODGE 55

Ankeny — Jaxon Smith 6-11 4-5 17, Dillon Carlson 5-8 0-0 11, JaRon Crews 3-4 1-1 9, Braxton Bayless 3-10 1-2, Nolan Otten 2-4 1-2 5, Jordan Kumm 4-6 0-0 10, Reece Pitz 4-4 0-0 9, Drake Bennett 3-4 0-0 8, Brecken Manus 1-2 2-2 5, Grant Moeller 1-1 0-2 2, Payton Fay 0-1 0-0 0, Anyuon Anyoun 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 32-56 9-14 83.

Fort Dodge — Jordan Jackson 7-11 1-1 15, Jace Peterson 3-9 2-5 8, Malihk Lockman 2-6 0-0 6, Tysen Kershaw 1-7 0-0 2, Rodney Tilawen 0-1 0-0 0, Grant Barber 4-8 1-5 9, Asle Thorson 3-3 1-2 7, D’Arien Calahan 1-2 0-0 2, Nolan Daniel 0-1 2-2 2, Isaiah Alvarez 1-2 0-0 2, Tre Preston 1-1 0-0 2, Dayson Clayton 0-1 0-0 0, Geoff Astor 0-0 0-0 0, Frank Goddard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 23-52 7-15 55.

Quarter scores: Ankeny led 24-12, 39-22, 63-37. Three-point goals: Ankeny 10-19 (Kumm 2-2, Bennett 2-3, Crews 2-3, Smith 1-1, Manus 1-1, Pitz 1-1, Carlson 1-4, Fay 0-1, Anyuon 0-1, Bayless 0-2). Turnovers: Fort Dodge 19, Ankeny 12. Total fouls: Fort Dodge 19, Ankeny 17. Fouled out: Kumm.

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