BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It took about three minutes for the Fort Madison boys basketball team to let Keokuk know that there would be no upset on this night.
The Hounds dropped Keokuk 70-36 in boys high school action behind 21 points from senior Treavor James-Kokjohn. The Hounds converted eight three pointers including four from junior Brandon Keester, three in the second half.
Keester said the Hounds have enough good shooters that when one person goes cold another heats up.
“We can do that, we have really good outside shooters from Kaleb (Cresswell), to Treavor, to Logan (Rashid). It just seems that when one of us gets cold someone will step up and hit shots,” Keester said.
Head Coach Ryan Wilson said Keester had a good night and tends to convert more when he shoots off the pass.
“He can shoot the ball,” he said. “We’ve gone over some things in practice. When he catches and shoots, he’s a good shooter. But sometimes he tries to take a couple jabs and that doesn’t always work out. He can knock down open shots and that’s what we need. Were not going to get 20 from Treavor or Kaleb every night.”
James-Kokjohn found himself going up against senior Dre Moody, who attempted about four dunks on the night from under the basket. James-Kokjohn was able to extend Moody and get him outside the lane where Kokjohn could hit from outside or drive and convert while drawing several fouls.
James-Kokjohn gave the Hounds their first lead when he scored inside and drew a foul on Moody and converted the free throw to put the Hounds up 5-4. Senior Kaleb Cresswell then converted on a 3-pointer on Fort Madison’s next possession down the court. After a Chiefs’ turnover, Cresswell was fouled in transition at the basket and converted the free throw. James-Kokjohn added a bucket to continue an 11-0 run forcing a Chiefs’ timeout.
Wilson put in a half-court press after the time out and forced a Keokuk turnover, James-Kokjohn rushed to the other end and was fouled again while converting inside for his eighth point of the quarter. A Cresswell 3-pointer extended the run to 19-0 before Keokuk’s Braylon Martinez scored for the Chiefs but the game was quickly getting away from Keokuk,
The Bloodhounds pushed the lead to 26-8 on another James-Kokjohn bucket. The Chiefs suffered three consecutive turnovers in the final three minutes and Fort Madison held a comfortable 34-12 lead at the end of the half.
Two personal fouls on Cresswell and James-Kokjohn started the second half on a shaky note. Moody clanked two free throws, but got his own rebound and converted a bucket before Keester hit one of his threes and then James-Kokjohn scored five straight, three from the free throw line. The Chiefs were able to manage a 3-pointer from D’Angelo Moorer, but the Hounds had essentially put the game out of reach 44-19.
Wilson started working some bench players into the game without giving much away to the Chiefs. Sophomore Jayden Fedler had six of his 10 points in the fourth quarter. The Hounds had four players in double figures, which is a value of Wilson’s offensive scheme. Sophomore Michael Mosena gave the Hounds some solid ball control off the bench and then fired in a 3-pointer late in the game to give the Hounds the 70-36 win.
Fort Madison kept the pace brisk throughout the game, another trait of Wilson’s teams.
“We like to push the ball and we knew Keokuk was going to push,” Wilson said. “They have some athletes and we knew they were going to push us and I like to get out and run and play in transition as much as possible.”
When Wilson started subbing, the Hounds didn’t lose much in the way of ball handling with Mosena, Keester, and Rashid scrambling about.
“Ball control is a huge, huge part of our program I would take a team of guards any day. It makes it that much harder to guard us,” Wilson said. “We were fortunate to have Wentzein come through and Cam Crissman and now Rashid, Cresswell, and Mosina. We work on it all the time.”
Keester finished with 12 points and Cresswell had 13 for the Hounds. Rashid finished with seven points, Mosena had five and Sheymouhr Redd-Donald had a bucket for Fort Madison.
Anthony Potratz led Keokuk with 11 points and Moody had nine.
The Hounds are off until Tuesday when they travel to Warsaw for a junior varsity/varsity boys doubleheader with West Hancock. The Hounds struggled with Illinois schools on the road last year with their only win against an Illinois school coming against Illini West at home.