Fort Dodge girls open on the road

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Liza Van Zyl of Fort Dodge shoots last year in the Dodger gym against Dowling.

It’s already been a long first month for the Fort Dodge girls basketball squad.

The Dodgers were set to open the season after losing three of their top four scorers to graduation.

Now Fort Dodge will be minus their top returnee for its opener at Des Moines Roosevelt on Tuesday.

Senior Shareece Smith, who averaged 7.1 points last season, will likely miss the first three games with a bout of mono.

Michalik must also replace 2017 graduates Shariah Smith, Justice Crooks and Maggie Harvey.

“Without Shareece, we are kind of short-handed,” Michalik said. “It’s going to be tough to replace the scoring of Shariah, Justice and Maggie.

“Someone will have to step up and pick up the slack.”

The Dodgers tip off against the Roughriders. Last season, FDSH was 8-15 and defeated Roosevelt to start the year, 61-53.

Fort Dodge will travel to Ames on Saturday.

“(Roosevelt) graduated two of their top scorers from last year,” Michalik said. “They have a handful of kids coming back, though.”

Michalik does return three starters and a top reserve: seniors Liza Van Zyl, Taelor Lessmeier and Beth Murman.

Van Zyl scored 4.7 points per contest, Murman 4.1, and Lessmeier chipped in 3.0 a night.

“We are pretty athletic with our starting five,” Micahlik said.

Also starting on Tuesday will be senior Raeya Love and junior Olivia Camamo, who takes over at the point.

“We lack some varsity game experience overall,” Michalik said. “It will be a relatively new experience for Raeya and Olivia, but we are confident in them.”