BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Central Lee got 23 points from sophomore shooting specialist MacKenzie Northup, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the 3rd quarter, to put FMHS away 52-39 on Saturday at the Hound Dome.
The Hounds, who had the lead for the better part of the first quarter before Central Lee went on an 8-2 run to end the quarter, seemed poised to take the game back from the Lady Hawks, but Northup’s buzzer beater seemed to quash the momentum.
The second quarter the Hounds got within eight points two minutes into the quarter and then both teams went cold, and scoreless, for five full minutes before the Hounds scored to make it an 18-24 game. Each team would add a bucket for a 20-26 Central Lee lead going into the lockerroom.
Fort Madison applied pressure and got some timely shooting from senior guard Mercedes Trimble to outscore the Hawks 7 to 3 until the final minute of the period, where the Hawks got a quick bucket with less than 20 seconds left and then forced a turnover giving the ball back to the Hawks. Northup forced the ball up the court and navigated to the three-point arc where she calmly pulled up and let fly with no time on the clock.
“The Northup girl’s a tremendous shooter and very quick with the ball,” said FMHS Head Coach Charlie Knipe after the game. “But we knew she was that good, we just couldn’t contain her.”
The shot seemed to give the Lady Hawks that momentum they needed to put the game away as they outscored FM 18-12 the rest of the way, despite 11 points from Mercedes Trimble in the second half.
Trimble, who’s been very hot from the field of late, still is having trouble getting open looks, even with the Lady Hounds imposing front three of Amber Dilsaver, Emily Mitchell and Brittiney Harris.
“We’ve been working with Mercedes to try and take more shots,” said Knipe. “In the last six games she’s shooting 82% from the three point line (including a 4 of 4 night against Danville on the 24th). She’s learning that we need her to shoot.”
The loss takes the Lady Hounds to 4-14 on the season with three games left in the regular season starting with a road trip to Washington on Friday.
Trimble led all FMHS scorers with 19 points. Mariah Trimble had 6, Harris added 5, Emily Mitchell had 4 points, Anna Kester had 3 and Taylor Shannon added 2.
In Friday’s game vs. Mount Pleasant, Mercedes Trimble and Dilsaver led the Lady Hounds with 13 and 12 points respectively as Fort Madison fell 55-42 after giving up a first quarter lead. Kester had 5 points in that game followed by Mariah Trimble, Harris and Shannon all with four points.