BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It’s a season of feast or famine for FMHS’ varsity boys basketball team.
The Hounds are 10-6 on the season with five games left before districts and wins are coming with an average margin of victory of almost 17 points, but two 30 point losses to Mt. Pleasant have pushed the margin of defeat to about the same gap.
On Friday FMHS easily dispatched of Central Lee 67-40 in a non-conference matchup, putting four players in double figures, a factor that Head Coach Ryan Wilson says is a must for the Bloodhounds to rack up more wins.
“How many times have we had four players in double figures and won those games,’ Wilson said. “We don’t have that one player that dominates the game, putting up 30 points per game. It has to be offensively and defensively a team effort for us to win.”
Which is exactly what he got in an uptempo game that featured plenty of scoring and kept Central Lee on its heels most of the night. Wilson started in a man-to-man defense with full court pressure and kept the tempo throughout the first half.
“I think when we go man-to-man it gets us in the flow quicker,” Wilson, who could be seen clapping on many occasions from the sidelines Saturday. “I think with our guards we’re good enough to guard the full court most of the time. We like to push the speed and the tempo.”
Junior Kaleb Cresswell, who had just one 3-pointer and a bucket but converted 12-of-12 from the free throw line, led all Hounds with 17 points.
The Hounds jumped out to 10-4 start midway through the first period before Central Lee seemed to want to make a game of it and pushed back to end the period at 15-12. However Wilson and his team continued to cause the Hawks trouble in transition and only gave up three 2nd quarter points to the visitors while going on a 25-3 run, spearheaded by Treavor Kokjohn’s 14 first half points. He didn’t score in the 2nd half.
The Hounds had extended that lead in the 3rd quarter to 61-26 and Wilson moved the Hounds into a matchup zone defense and began substituting liberally from there on out.
Other scorers for the Hounds were Landon Bentley with 15 including three 3-pointers, CJ Richardson with 11, Logan Rashid had 6 and Austin Rose and Lorenzo Riles with 2 points apiece.
Evan Doyle led Central Lee with 9 points.
In Friday’s game, the Mt. Pleasant Panthers rolled Fort Madison for the 2nd time this season.
“We didn’t play a good first half and we got into a 21-point deficit,” Wilson said. “You know we shot 8 of 15 in the first half but we committed a ton of turnovers. Say we don’t commit six of those turnovers and we score on four of them, that’s potentially a 16 point swing and it’s a whole different ball game.”
As it was the Panthers dropped the Hounds 78-41 behind a 26-point game from Mt. Pleasant’s junior Brady Sartorius. The Hounds found themselves down by 12 with just four minutes gone in the game and never recovered.
They were led by Treavor Kokjohn’s 11 points and CJ Richardson’s 10.