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Fort Dodge girls bow out

SIOUX CITY — The month of February saw the Fort Dodge girls basketball squad start to turn the corner.

Five consecutive victories, including a Class 5A regional quarterfinal triumph over Sioux City North, have given Dodger head coach Scott Messerly the foundation to continue bringing his program back into contention.

On Saturday night in a regional semifinal at Sioux City East, Fort Dodge came out clicking, taking a 17-12 lead after the first. The Black Raiders forced the Dodgers out of their full-court press, though, and were able to escape on their home floor with a 63-53 victory.

Sioux City East (18-4 overall) advances to face No. 4 Southeast Polk (14-3) in a regional championship on Tuesday night in Pleasant Hill.

Junior Aleaha Pommer led Fort Dodge (8-10) with 19 points and four rebounds. Sophomore Lainey Maehl scored nine points off the bench, while junior Tory Bennett contributed seven points, seven assists, seven steals, three rebounds and a blocked shot.

“We came out great,” Messerly said. “For a long ride over there, that was a real positive to see by the girls.

“They never let up. Even when we got behind late, we continued to battle back and fight hard. We just couldn’t quite get back over that hump after falling behind (by double digits) in the third quarter.”

The game marked the last for Tristin Doster in a Dodger basketball uniform. Cheyenne Miller-Hameed, the only other senior on the roster, suffered a knee injury earlier this year that forced her to the sidelines.

“Tristin and Cheyenne were great senior leaders,” Messerly said. “We are definitely going to miss all that they contributed to the team and the program. Tristin was a tremendous rebounder and Cheyenne could defend anybody on the court, along with being a key player we looked to for a big bucket.”

Sioux City East was led by junior Kayla Benson, who scored 22 points with eight rebounds, three steals and two assists. Megan Callahan added 14.

“We really gave them problems with our press, but eventually, we had to switch to man and Benson found some cracks in our defense,” Messerly said. “I really can’t fault the girls at all, because they gave a great effort from start to finish.”

SIOUX CITY EAST 63, FORT DODGE 53

Fort Dodge — Tory Bennett 2-8 2-6 7, Jalen Adams 1-2 1-2 3, Aleaha Pommer 6-16 5-8 19, Tristin Doster 2-5 0-0 4, Haley Wills 1-2 0-0 2, Ellie White 2-3 0-0 5, Paytene Hiveley 2-4 0-2 4, Lainey Maehl 3-3 2-2 9, Taelore Presswod 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-43 10-20 53.

Sioux City East — Kyley Vondrak 3-8 2-2 9, Megan Callahan 4-7 5-6 14, Kayla Benson 7-10 4-4 22, Kaia Downs 1-3 0-2 2, Taylor Drent 4-8 2-3 10, Addie Harris 2-4 0-0 4, Alex Flattery 1-6 0-0 2. Totals: 22-46 13-17 63.

Quarter scores: Fort Dodge led 17-12; Sioux City East led 27-25, 45-35. Three-point goals: Fort Dodge 5-14 (Bennett 1-4, Adams 0-1, Pommer 2-6, White 1-2, Maehl 1-1), Sioux City East 6-16 (Vondrak 1-3, Callahan 1-1, Benson 4-7, Downs 0-1, Flattery 0-4). Total rebounds: Fort Dodge 26, Sioux City East 29. Assists: Fort Dodge 13, Sioux City East 9. Steals: Fort Dodge 15, Sioux City East 14. Blocked shots: Fort Dodge 2, Sioux City East 4. Turnovers: Fort Dodge 28, Sioux City East 28.

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