BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The FMHS varsity girls basketball team played one of their better first halves of the year and it was enough to end a 10-game losing streak.
The Lady Hounds downed visiting Danville in a non-conference match up 44-29 on Tuesday to move to 4-12 on the season behind 17 points from Mercedes Trimble.
The Bloodhound senior went 6 for 6 from the field including 4 3-pointers. Her only miss was the front end of two foul shots in the final seconds of the game.
“Honestly we’ve been after her to shoot the ball. She shoots 45 to 50% from the field,” said Head Coach Charlie Knipe.
FMHS raced out to an 11-2 first quarter lead on the Trimble-Dilsaver show. Junior Amber Dilsaver opened the game with three straight buckets before Trimble added a layup and then connected on a 3-pointer on the next possession. The Bears didn’t get on the board until two minutes were left in the quarter.
The second quarter was more evenly matched as the Hounds added a point to the lead by outscoring Danville 10-9 in that period. Trimble had 11 of her points in the first half and Dilsaver had eight from the low post to lead the Hounds to a 27-13 in the first half advantage.
The Hounds looked as though they would let another 3rd quarter be their undoing as has been the modus operandi many times this year as the Bears nipped away at the 14-point deficit cutting it to 11. During the stretch the Hounds looked tentative from the field and were reluctant to take shots as they moved the ball around in the set offense. Danville went cold in the final period only putting up seven points, while FMHS put up 11 to put the game away.
Knipe said it his team was focused on ending the skid Tuesday.
“It feels good. The girls have worked hard the past couple of weeks and they’re starting to understand and that’s what we’re really excited about,” he said. “They are starting to realize that…’Hey I can give up a shot for a better shot. And we have to shoot from the inside to open up the outside and we have to shoot from the outside to open up the inside.”
“That was really good to see, because Danville is not a bad team, they’re young, but they’re not too bad.”
Knipe said the Hounds probably had one of their better all-around performances in the win.
“We had a really good effort on the boards and we had a nice team effort. We shot 61% from the field for the game and that’s 2 and 3s so I’ll take that any day,” he said.
Rounding out the scoring for the Hounds was Dilsaver with 14, Emily Mitchell and Mariah Trimble each had 4, Taylor Shannan added three and Brittiney Harris had 2.
Fort Madison travels to Mt. Pleasant on Friday to face the 7-7 Lady Panthers who beat the Hounds 53-41 on Jan. 10.