Bobcats’ slide persists
The first quarter has been a real issue for the Marshalltown boys’ basketball team this season. Too many times the Bobcats have gotten behind early and never recovered.
Friday night, the start was just fine. It was the second quarter that doomed the Bobcats.
After leading 16-13 after one quarter, the Bobcats managed just 32 points over the next three quarters and were outscored 27-6 in the second frame during a 73-48 loss to rival Fort Dodge in Central Iowa Conference Northern Division play at the Roundhouse.
It was the sixth straight loss for the Bobcats, who are now 3-13 overall and 0-3 in league play.
“We were moving the ball and being aggressive and attacking at both ends in the first quarter,” Marshalltown coach Scott Smith said. “But things got away from us in a hurry in the second. Fort Dodge is a very good team. This is the best team that they have had since I can remember.”
The win for Fort Dodge ended the Dodgers two-game losing streak. And it completed the season sweep of Marshalltown on the year. The Dodgers beat the Bobcats, 74-59, at home earlier this season.
JC Hatcher led all scorers with 20 points but reached his season average of 18 points per game by the third quarter and did not play much in the fourth as reserves from both teams logged several minutes down the stretch.
Krunal Thakor was the only other Dodger in double-figures as he finished with 13. Fort Dodge hit 10 more shots from the floor in the win and also went 13-of-19 from the line. Marshalltow hit 6-of-8 from the line.
The first quarter was impressive for MHS. Back-to-back treys from Aaron Hauser and Connor Johnson gave MHS its first lead of the game and a 3-point play from Johnson later in the quarter evened things up at 11-all. The Bobcats held a slim lead after one quarter thanks to a 3 in the closing seconds by Austin Kluver.
The game was tied at 19-all early in the second quarter, but the Dodgers (9-6, 3-1) finished the period on a 21-3 run to essentially lock up their ninth win of the season.
“They got to the rim and got to the line. They are very hard to stay in front of,” Smith said of the second-quarter run. “We bothered them in the first quarter, but they took it to us in the second.
“I give (Fort Dodge) credit. The effort was there. We just didn’t shoot the ball well enough. The things we struggle with are hard to hide. Points in the paint and second-chance points were evident tonight and they exposed us in those categories.”
Hauser led the Bobcats with 13 points, while Dylan Diveney and Johnson each scored seven in the loss.
Marshalltown’s last win came against Boone on January 9. Fort Dodge has wins over Dowling Catholic, Urbandale and Des Moines Roosevelt this season. The Dodgers also lost by single digits to state-ranked Des Moines North. “They are a tough matchup, and I think they can make some noise in their substate this year,” Smith said. Marshalltown will play again today against CIC Northern Division rival Ames at the Roundhouse. The make-up game will tip-off at 3 p.m. It is the first meeting between the Bobcats and first-place Little Cyclones this year.