BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
MT. PLEASANT – The Fort Madison varsity boys basketball team has seen some good teams this year in a couple of losses, but when the Bloodhounds rolled into the house of the 6th ranked team in the state, they saw something a little different.
Mt. Pleasant, currently ranked 6th in Class 3a, showed Fort Madison in the first two minutes that there’s a whole different level of play in the Southeast Conference as they handed the Bloodhounds a 64-38 loss. The loss drops the Hounds to 7-3 in the conference and also saddles them with their first conference loss of the year.
Head coach Ryan Wilson is already counting down the days for a rematch.
“We’re gonna see them again in 17 days,” Wilson said after the game. “Hopefully we learn from this and are better come that time.”
The Panthers jumped out to 10-0 first quarter run sparked by a bucket and 3-pointer from junior Jordan Magnini who was averaging just at 11 points per game coming into the contest.
The Bloodhounds were focused on containing Brady Sartorius who leads the Southeast Conference in scoring at about 20 points per outing. FMHS senior guard CJ Richardson seemed to have the junior standout in check in the first half giving up only four points, but Mt. Pleasant just turned to others to pick up the scoring. Sartorius ended with 20 p0ints, finding his rhythm late in the third period.
The Hounds didn’t get on the board until Richardson connected on the back end of two free throws and then converted on the next time down the floor. Another free throw by Lorenzo Riles was all the points the Hounds would get in the first quarter.
Junior Kaleb Creswell was stymied the first period but found some room in the second quarter leading the Hounds with 10 points and aside from a bucket from sophomore Logan Rashid that’s all the Hounds would get going into the lockerroom down by 20 36-16.
“(Mt. Pleasant’s) intensity was up and they play hard basketball. They were in our shorts the entire game. That’s how they play,” Wilson said. “This is the first really good team that we we’ve played all this year and it showed. We’ve just got to learn from that right there. Our intensity in practice and our focus has to match what just happened tonight.”
The Panthers kept the pressure on in the third quarter outscoring the Hounds 16 to 8. The Hounds did manage to put up more in the fourth quarter with the only run in the game coming in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter where FM went on a 7-2 run, but the game was too far out of reach and Mount Pleasant was just too good to catch.
Creswell finished the game with a team-high 19 points, followed by Richardson’s 6 and Treavor Kokjohn and Austin Rose each had 4. Rashid and Landon Bentley finished with two points and Riles added 1.
Wilson said the Hounds didn’t match intensity with the Panthers and didn’t execute the game plan.
“Our two keys were to take care of the ball and rebound and we didn’t do either one of those tonight,” he said. “If we’d done both of those it’s a little closer game. But we had 10 turnovers in the first half and gave up 10 to 15 offensive rebounds and you can’t win games when those things happen.”
The Hounds play host to Keokuk on Friday in junior varsity/varsity girls/varsity boys matchup. The game will feature the Coaches vs Cancer event to raise money to help fight cancer.