BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The word “rebound” was probably very heavy on the mind of Holy Trinity Catholic’s Head Coach Tony Johnson Saturday afternoon.
His Lady Crusaders were looking to rebound from a pounding at the hands of No. 9 ranked Notre Dame Friday night when they faced cross-town rival Fort Madison on Saturday night at Fort Madison. And one of his keys to the game was to rebound better.
The plan worked as Holy Trinity ‘rebounded’ from a slow first quarter to put away the Lady Bloodhounds 53-43 behind a 14-point performance from senior Ali Randolph.
The Hounds started working their inside game, which was minus leading scorer Amber Dilsaver, in the first quarter and rushed out to a 14-7 lead on the backs of Mercedes and Mariah Trimble who scored the first 8 points for the Hounds.
Johnson said his team was working a man-to-man defense that wasn’t doing much with the Hounds bigger inside presence, so he switched to a zone defense and the Hounds had trouble reacting. But Johnson said poor shooting in the first quarter didn’t harken him back to thoughts of Friday’s icy shooting at Notre Dame.
“I knew they’d break out of it. They played hard the whole game and they never gave up last night, even when they were down they kept playing hard so I knew they wouldn’t have trouble with it. This is a rival game so it’s easy for them to get up for it.”
Johnson had his squad in a man-to-man defense for the first quarter but then switched to a zone to stop the Hounds from pounding points in the paint.
Fort Madison Head Coach Charlie Knipe said his squad, which won the first game between the two 53-50 back on Dec. 3, still had open shots after HTC moved to the zone, but they just couldn’t convert a bucket.
“We had open shots even after they went to a zone,” he said. “But we couldn’t get the ball inside and then we went away from what was working and then just fell apart.”
With both teams installing full court presses for most of the game, HTC took advantage of the running and pulled ahead of the Hounds at the three minute mark 18-17. The two teams traded buckets the rest of the way through the 2nd period with the Lady Crusaders holding a 23-22 lead at the break.
The Lady Crusaders outscored the Hounds, 14-8 in what is becoming a cursed quarter for Fort Madison, and held a 37-30 lead going into the final period.
The Hounds would cut the lead to five at 36-41 with 8 minutes remaining but HTC, who continued to keep pressure on the Hounds back court throughout the quarter pushed the lead to 10 and then 11 at the end.
“They bounced back from a tough loss last night where we couldn’t make a shot. But they didn’t hang their heads,” Johnson said. You just come back and play good defense and rebound, which we did better in the 2nd half,” Johnson said.
They are good team, they have a good mix of speed, (Taylor) Boeding can hit the jumper, Schneider can drive and Randolph is strong. They’re something to worry about in the future,” Knipe said.
Knipe commended the play of junior Kamryn Bailey who had a season-high nine points.
“Kamryn is just a workhorse and she doesn’t hold back. She’ll stick her nose in anything and coming off last night’s 7 boards she’s been doing very well lately.”
Knipe said he’ll put his girls back to work Monday and try to regain some focus.
“We’re gonna come back Monday and go back to work. The girls realize that we’re only one or two 3-minute spans in a couple games from some more wins. If we could change those three minutes in a lot of our games we’d be there. They’re down right now but losing’s a part of winning.”
For the Lady Crusaders, Brett Schneider had 11 points, Boeding had 7, Emily Box had 6, Mya Lawlor, Ashlyn Haas and Madison Mohrfeld each had four points. Maggie Walker had 3.
For Fort Madison, Mariah Trimble led all scorers with 13, Brittiney Harris had 8, Katie Larson added 5 points, Emily Mitchell had 3, Taylor Shannon and Mercedes Trimble had two each, and Anna Kester had 1.
Fort Madison falls to 3-7 on the year, while HTC improves to 5-6 with the win. Fort Madison junior varsity and varsity girls play host to Mt. Pleasant on Tuesday, while the Lady Crusaders travel to Van Buren for a junior varsity boys/varsity girls/varsity boys matchup.