BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PEN CITY EDITOR
FORT MADISON – If the Fort Madison Lady Hounds could just skip the third quarter, they may have a few more “W”s in the bag.
The Lady Hounds had to scrape and crawl to get back into the game in the fourth quarter where they were able to close the gap to three before falling to Washington 46-43 in the first game off the holiday break Tuesday night.
Head Coach Charles Knipe’s squad has seen a scenario unfold several times this year where Fort Madison had a lead or a tie going into halftime only to have his troops fizzle in the third quarter and put the game out of reach.
The Lady Hounds were paced in the first half by senior Mercedes Trimble and junior Amber Dilsaver. Trimble had 10 first half points including two 3-pointers, which have been scarce this year for Fort Madison. Dilsaver had three inside buckets and a free throw for seven points in the first half. The Hounds were tied with the Lady Demons at 22 going into the break.
“I don’t know why can’t come out and be strong,” Knipe said. “We went in halftime after hitting a three pointer and came out jacked up,” Knipe said “They didn’t change their defense or anything, we just threw the ball away five times and we couldn’t deal with their press.”
Washington put a press on the Hounds and forced turnover after turnover to start the period and outscored Fort Madison 20-6 in the 3rd period. The Lady Hounds had dug themselves a 39-25 hole going into the final period. But as has been the history with with Hounds, they tried to claw their way back into the game in the fourth using some stingy defense and three more 3-point field goals to make a run at Washington.
“We took care of the press and they pulled it off, and then we just took care of the ball,” Knipe said. “We started being patient on offense… got a couple shots to fall and convinced the girls that it was just one possession at a time.”
Knipe said overall he was pleased with the team’s effort and was happy to see some 3-pointers, but said the Lady Hounds still need to find some offense to balance out the inside play and rebounding success his team usually has.
“We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. We out-rebound everyone, but we just couldn’t get it done tonight. And many times Amber was wide open and we just couldn’t get her the ball.”
Washington came into the game 1-6 but Knipe said that record is a bit deceptive because the Lady Demons have played tough non-conference opponents such as Marion and Sigourney.
“They’re a lot better than that record indicates,” he said.
Dilsaver finished the game with a team high 16, followed by Trimble with 13, including three 3-pointers. Senior Mariah Trimble chipped in with 4 points, Anna Kester and Taylor Shannon each had three points and seniors Emily Mitchell and Brittiney Harris each added two. Washington was led by Sarah Nacos with 14.
The Lady Hounds are now 3-5 on the season and host Fairfield Friday at home in a jv/varsity girls, varsity boys triple header.