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No. 15 Ames pulls away from FD girls

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Fort Dodge’s Aleah Pommer shoots around Ames on Tuesday in the Dodger gym. For more photos, visit CU at messengernews.net

The Fort Dodge girls are getting deeper into games with quality opponents.

Head coach Scott Messerly knows the trick now is to not get discouraged by the end result during the next step in the growth process.

The Dodgers pushed 15th-ranked (Class 5A) Ames to a first-half stalemate, but the Little Cyclones came out of the locker room on fire in the third quarter and pulled away to post a 60-41 victory in the FDSH gym on Tuesday.

After an icy start in which Ames (3-2 overall) missed 18 of its 23 three-point attempts before intermission, the Little Cyclones began to work the ball inside-out more instead of just settling for perimeter jump shots following the break. The result was a 22-7 third-period knockout punch, and a 50-percent effort from distance the rest of the way.

“It’s just difficult for us to maintain physically for an entire game against a ballclub like that,” Messerly admitted. “They use five or six players who are at least 5-foot-10, so they find ways to alter your shots and make you second-guess yourself when you’re trying to get to the rim.

“I was really proud of how competitive we were in that first half. We were matching them basket for basket. But I think we got a little lost defensively at times in that third quarter, they fed the post and kicked it back out more, and we kind of ran out of juice.”

It was 21-21 at the intermission.

Junior Cheyenne Miller-Hameed finished with nine points for the Dodgers (1-3), but made only 4 of her 13 shots after being repeatedly hounded on drives into the paint. Aleaha Pommer added eight, Tory Bennett seven, and Jalen Adams six.

The Little Cylcone tandem of Caroline Waite and Ashley Iiams did most of the damage, scoring 48 of their squad’s 60 points. Wait and Iiams combined to hit 12 triples in 32 attempts from beyond the arc.

“We left Iiams alone too often in that second half,” Messerly said. “We did a better job of getting a hand in her face (during the first and second quarter), but at 6-foot-1, she’s a tough matchup and she got loose.”

Iiams sank three of her five trey tries in the third period, then swished two more in the fourth for good measure. She was just 2 of 8 in the first half.

An Ellie White basket put the Dodgers up 10-9 late in the opening quarter. Ames went up 19-12 from there, but consecutive field goals by Miller-Hameed, a Pommer three-pointer and a Bennett bucket pulled Fort Dodge even.

“Last year, that (seven-point deficit) would’ve probably been 15 or 20 by halftime,” Messerly said. “We’re making strides. We talked at halftime about doing all the little things and making sure we were crossing all of our Ts and dotting our Is. But we got a little more careless with the basketball and settled too much for contested looks the rest of the way.

“Part of the defensive issues were physical. But I still think we can be better if we compete a little harder and with more of an edge. We’ve got to get over that intimidation factor.”

The Dodgers hit the road for a contest at sixth-ranked Waukee on Friday.

AMES 60, FORT DODGE 41

Ames — Ashley Iiams 8-18 2-2 25, Caroline Waite 8-23 2-2 23, Teagan Lipsey 3-8 2-4 8, Morgan Seibert 0-3 0-2 0, Madelyn Timmermans 0-2 0-2 0, Kennedy White 2-2 0-2 4, Ireland Buss 0-2 0-2 0, Julia Grawe 0-2 0-0 0, Maddison Pankonen 0-1 0-0 0, Leah Tietjens 0-0 0-0 0, Tiffany Rong 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-61 6-16 60.

Fort Dodge — Cheyenne Miller-Hameed 4-13 0-0 9, Aleaha Pommer 3-7 0-0 8, Tory Bennett 2-6 3-4 7, Tristin Doster 1-2 0-0 2, Haley Wills 0-1 0-0 0, Jalen Adams 2-5 1-2 6, Ellie White 2-4 0-0 4, Taelore Presswood 1-2 0-0 3, Jebreauna Clark 1-1 0-0 2, Jacy Daniel 0-0 0-0 0, Nicole Guerin 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 16-44 4-6 41.

Quarter scores: Ames led 11-10; Tied 21-21; Ames led 43-28. Three-point goals: Ames 12-37 (Iiams 7-16, Waite 5-16, Seibert 0-2, Grawe 0-2, Lipsey 0-1); Fort Dodge 5-16 (Pommer 2-3, Miller-Hameed 1-5, Adams 1-2, Presswood 1-1, Bennett 0-3, Wills 0-1, Guerin 0-1). Turnovers: Fort Dodge 18, Ames 9. Total fouls: Fort Dodge 17, Ames 12.