BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FAIRFIELD – Logan Rashid started Friday’s game at Fairfield with a trey for the Hounds’ first three points less than a minute into the game. And Logan Rashid wrapped up the Hounds scoring with a trey with less than a minute remaining in the game.
Fort Madison held off a pesky Fairfield team to win the last Southeast Conference game of the year 62-48. Logan Rashid scored a season high 23.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now and knocking down some big shots,” said Bloodhounds Head Coach Ryan Wilson. “He’s come a long way since the beginning of the year.”
The sophomore came into Friday’s game averaging 5.6 points per game, but over the last three games has averaged 16 points. Rashid is part of a starting back court that includes junior Kaleb Cresswell and CJ Richardson. Kresswell is 2nd in the conference in scoring at 15.3 points per game and Richardson averages right around 11.
The Hounds found themselves in a battle out of the gate and had early trouble containing Tristin Waugh, a Trojan sophomore who plays in the post. Waugh scored the first three buckets for Fairfield and had eight points in a first quarter that ended with Fairfield on top 15-14.
Rashid, almost on script, dropped in another 3-pointer to start the 2nd quarter. Then he converted the back end of two free throws for the first four points of the quarter. Cresswell drained one of his four 3-pointers on the night to give the Hounds a 21-15 advantage before the Trojans even got on the board. But then Waugh went back to work and scored eight straight points unanswered by FMHS to give Fairfield a 2-point advantage 23-21.
But Cresswell started a counter by the Hounds when he converted another trey and Richardson added a couple of 3s of his own, while Rashid completed a 3-point play on a drive in the lane, all part of a 12-0 run by the Hounds to enter the lockerroom up 10, 33-23.
Out of halftime, it was Fairfield’s turn to counter with a 14-8 run that pulled the Trojans to within two points at 39-37. Wilson called a timeout to regroup the troop and switched to a zone press to stop the run.
“We went to a zone press and mixed it up between 1-2-2 and 2-2-1,” he said. “We had to switch it up and give them a different look and it worked.”
Yep. It sure did as Fairfield only managed to score nine more points the rest of the game and the Hounds took advantage of the press and some solid play from senior Austin Rose….Rashid who threw in eight more in the final period to help seal the deal.
Rose made his presence known inside on offense and helping keep the ball moving around the perimeter while perched at the free throw line. Rose scored four points in the final four minutes for the Hounds.
“Austin’s a kid that plays hard every night and you never have to question his intensity. Some things he needs to do different mentally and not be so handsy on defense, but he had a nice fourth quarter,” Wilson said.
Rashid said his play of late is attributed to the team seeing him better and his own confidence.
“It’s just confidence. Ever since I’ve been able to knock down some shots, it just builds confidence. I’m getting more decent looks from the guys,” Rashid said. “I look back in time and I’m slowly getting better. I was getting 0 points every other game to now getting double digits so I know it’s getting better.”
Wilson said Rashid isn’t just shooting better, but playing better.
“He plays hard. There’s a few things I’d like to see him do better, but he’s in a zone right now,” Wilson said. “He’s just shooting with confidence, he’s aggressive and he’s active on defense. He got a few steals tonight and made some buckets in transition and he comes out and hits that three to open the game. He’s just playing well.”
Rounding out the scoring for the Hounds: Richardson had 10, Cresswell had 14, Landon Bentley added a bucket and Treavor Kokjohn had 6. Rose finished with seven.
The Hounds improve to 13-7 on the season with their only conference losses coming to Mt. Pleasant on two occasions.
The Hounds next and final regular season game has been moved from Tuesday to Monday as a favor to Illini West who’s girls team won sectionals and plays Tuesday. The Monday game will be senior night for the boys squad. The Hounds also drew Chariton in the first round of regionals and that game will be played on President’s Day, Feb. 20 in Mt. Pleasant.
Watch for a preview of the boys’ regional action next week.