A spirited second-half comeback provided Fort Dodge boys head coach Willie Williams with a sliver of optimism after Tuesday night’s game against Des Moines East.
The tripping point? Needing that kind of rally in the first place.
The Dodgers showed a sense of urgency late that Williams has been pleading for in recent weeks. A double-digit deficit was too much to overcome in the end, though, as FDSH dropped a 56-46 decision to the Scarlets.
Playing their first home contest in over a month, the Dodgers (1-7 overall) slumbered through a lackluster first half and trailed by 15 points at intermission. Fort Dodge did manage to trim the deficit to four with 2:30 remaining in regulation, but East (4-6) scored the final six points — all but one by 6-foot-6 junior and former Dodger middle schooler Tyron Wright — to seal the Iowa Alliance Conference crossover victory.
“I thought our second half — especially that third quarter — was all about fight and toughness. That’s what we need more of,” Williams said. “But you can’t get down by that many points in this situation on your home court. You just can’t. I’m proud of our guys for putting everything they had into the last two quarters. But we need that in all four if we want to get on the winning side of these games.”
Cade Westerhoff had the first three baskets of the third quarter, and a Ty Adams three-pointer had Fort Dodge within 41-34 in the final minute of the period. A traditional three-point play by Javion Jondle got the Dodgers within six points to open the fourth, and a Westerhoff triple made it 50-46 to give the home squad a sign of further hope.
Wright was simply too much to handle on the low blocks the rest of the way, however. After a relatively quiet first half, Wright went to work, scoring 10 of his 16 points in the closing eight minutes.
The Scarlets’ three-year starter attended school in Fort Dodge through fifth grade before moving to Des Moines. He is averaging over 12 points and nearly nine rebounds this season for East, which included a 28-point, 23-rebound performance in a victory over Waterloo East last month.
Jondle had 18 points for the Dodgers, with Westerhoff — a sophomore — adding all 14 of his points in the second half. Senior Kyron Wilson grabbed eight rebounds and recorded five steals.
Sophomore Desmon Campbell paced the Scarlets with 18 points. JeCari Patton and Wright contributed 16 each.
“Kyron and (junior) Ryan (Daniel) gave us good minutes (on the low blocks) defensively and on the boards,” Williams said. “They were working hard. Javion and Cade were offensive spark, and (freshman) Tytrell (Mosley) came off the bench and contributed in a positive way.
“The big thing is just getting on the same page. We have to do a better job of trusting each other and sharing the basketball to turn good looks into better ones. Again, we were better about that in the second half. But if you only show up for different (segments or stretches) of a game, you won’t be successful. It has to be 32 full minutes.”
The Dodgers are off until Monday, when they visit 10th-ranked Marshalltown for a make-up tilt. Fort Dodge’s next home contest is against Ames next Friday.
DM EAST 56, FORT DODGE 46
Des Moines East — Desmon Campbell 8 0-1 18, Tyron Wright 5 6-9 16, JeCari Patton 6 4-6 16, Kobrom Mikele 1 2-6 4, Desante McMurray 1 0-0 2, Keyvaughn McMurray 0 0-2 0, Ki’Saan Selden 0 0-2 0, Jamal Taylor 0 0-0 0, Chance Sutton 0 0-0 0, Quanya Jenkins 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 12-26 56.
Fort Dodge — Javion Jondle 7 3-3 18, Cade Westerhoff 5 3-6 14, Ty Adams 3 0-0 8, Drake Warland 1 0-0 3, Carter Woodruff 1 0-0 3, Kyron Wilson 0 0-0 0, Ryan Daniel 0 0-0 0, Tytrell Mosley 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 6-9 46.
Quarter scores: East led 19-12, 34-19, 43-34. Three point goals: East 2 (Campbell 2); Fort Dodge 6 (Adams 2, Warland 1, Jondle 1, Woodruff 1, Westerhoff 1). Turnovers: Fort Dodge 18, East 8. Total fouls: Fort Dodge 20, East 11. Fouled out: Woodruff.