BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Head Coach Charlie Knipe said the Fort Madison girls Bloodhound basketball team has a mental block when it comes to playing Keokuk.
It would appear so.
The Hounds committed close to 30 turnovers and couldn’t handle Keokuk’s full court press for most of the game enroute to a 16-60 loss Friday night at the Hound Dome.
“They’re a great team,” Knipe said. “There a fast team that likes to run and I’ve got nothing but my hat off to them and (head coach) Mike (Davis).”
2016 All-stater Micheala Davis controlled the tempo and kept Fort Madison from getting into any set offense for most of the game.
Davis finished with 16 points, including a couple 3-pointers to lead all scorers. Maddie Rashid led the Hounds with five.
“Honestly, I think we have mental block against this team. Our girls hear the name ‘Michaela Davis’ and they just struggle,” Knipe said.
The Chiefs tormented the Hound ball handlers and inbound plays racing to a 21-3 first quarter lead. The Hounds had trouble getting the ball in bounds after the Chief’s made buckets and when Fort Madison was able to get the ball inbounds, menacing back court defense kept the Hounds out of many scoring chances. Senior Amber Dilsaver was able to get a bucket inside and was fouled in the first quarter but couldn’t convert on the foul shot. Sophomore Anna Kester put in the back end of a couple free throws half way through the quarter.
Knipe said Fort Madison didn’t respond well to the full court pressure
“They like to deny the inbound by faceguarding the inbound pass. Our girls didn’t remember that you can run that line after a bucket and that happened about five times in a row. Quite a few times we had open girls and we just didn’t see it,” Knipe said.
The second quarter played out the same way with Keokuk scoring off many turnovers and then blanketing the Hounds ball carriers most of the way up the court. Keokuk had pushed the lead to 30-3 before junior Braxtyn McGhghy converted a three-point play when she hit a bucket in transition and was fouled. Those were the only points the Hounds would get in the second period, as Keokuk raced to a 41-3 halftime lead.
Knipe moved Dilsaver, the tallest girl on the floor at 6-foot, up in the press to try to give the Hounds more options getting the ball in play. The usually speedy senior guard Taylor Shannon went down with about 13 seconds in the quarter. Shannon had been nursing an upper leg injury and got up very slowly after scrambling for a ball. She didn’t play in the second half.
Senior guard Kamryn Bailey was also sat out the game after suffering a concussion in Tuesday’s game with Ottumwa.
“Taylor’s been hurt with a pulled groin and we’re gonna sit her the rest of the week. And we should have Kamryn back next Saturday,” Knipe said.
“But we’re gonna get better, we’re gonna keep working and we’re gonna get better.”
Sophomore Sara Bernhart converted a free throw to start the second half and the Hounds got a bucket and another free throw from Rashid. The Hounds held Keokuk to seven points in that period as Davis started emptying the bench.
McGhghy finished with three points for Fort Madison, Eleesha Estrada, Dilsaver and Nadia Boedag each had two points, while Kester and Bernhart each added one.
Fort Madison (0-3) is off for the next week and will pick up action again next Saturday against Burlington Notre Dame.