BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison Bloodhounds had four players in double figures Thursday night as they knocked off Burlington Notre Dame 74-67 to round out boys basketball action before the holiday break.
Senior Treavor James-Kokjohn led Fort Madison with 23 points on the night. Junior Logan Rashid had 22 points and junior Brandon Keester had 17. Senior Kaleb Cresswell had 10 points on the night, but had several nifty interior assists to Kokjohn,
A sluggish first start that saw the Hounds down 8-2 prompted a vocal timeout from Head Coach Ryan Wilson.
“We were just soft at the start and came out very flat,” Wilson said. “We pressed them at the beginning to try and get ’em running, but we played the way they wanted to play. We weren’t playing our game. We didn’t set the tone.”
The timeout got Wilson the desired result as the Hound went on a 13-6 run capped by a Keester 3-pointer from the left wing to give the Hounds their first lead of the game at 15-14. Keester hit another 3-pointer on the next possession, but the Nikes’ juniors, Ryle Koenig and Gavin Kies, each scored buckets to knot the score at 18.
Fort Madison then raced out to a 27-22 lead on a 12-footer by Cresswell, but Notre Dame outscored the Hounds 7-2 over the next two minutes to tie the game at 29 when Koenig hit a 3-pointer with 3:47 remaining in the half. Both teams went cold for the next two minutes before James-Kokjohn scored inside to put the Hounds up 31-29.
Notre Dame’s Axel Tjaden hit a 3-pointer and then Logan Rashid fouled Kies on a fast-break and KIes hit both free throws to give Notre Dame a 34-31 heading to the locker room.
Rashid hit a 3-pointer to tie the game up to open the 3rd quarter and then the two teams would trade buckets and 3-pointers, and each team hit three long balls and three buckets in the third period. The only difference in the period was that the Hounds were able to get to the free throw line four times and converted three which enabled them to tie the game at 49 at the end of the third.
Fort Madison outscored the Nikes 25-16 in the final period with Cresswell and Keester opening the period with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Hounds a 2-point lead at 57-55 and then James-Kokjohn took over, keeping the Nikes to one shot on each possession by controlling the boards. James-Kokjohn would score nine in the period including a put back on a free throw that hit the front of the rim. Kokjohn raced into and through the lane and put the rebounded free-throw back in to put Fort Madison up by 7 68-61.
Notre Dame would cut the lead to 6 on a Nick Skerik 3-pointer but would get no closer.
James-Kokjohn said he had trouble getting going at the start but things loosened up as the pace increased.
“They came out in a 2-3 defense and I couldn’t do that much in the first quarter,” he said. “But I started to find some holes underneath and I was able to get things working,”
Wilson said James-Kokjohn is a quiet player in practice and that carries to the floor.
“Treavor’s Treavor. He probably just had his sixth double-double of the year,” Wilson said. “He’s so quiet. You come into the gym, even in practice, and he does his thing and you don’t even notice it.”
Rashid, who’s playing point guard this season due to the graduation of last year’s floor leader CJ Richardson, said he’s starting to get more confidence running the offense.
“This has been basically a year of adjustment so far,” Rashid said. “Last year CJ ran things and I was able to spot up and shoot in the off guard position, but I’ve struggled adjusting to it. I’m just glad the way this game played out. I’m starting to get some confidence in knowing what I’m capable of.”
Sheymouhr Redd-Donald, who’s had success early on this year penetrating and scoring in the lane was kept out on the perimeter most of the night. He had the only other points for the Hounds with a bucket in the third period.
Koenig led Notre Dame, who also had four players in double figures, with 18 points. Kies added 14, while Christian Schwenker and Mitchell Brent each scored 11 for the Nikes.
The Hounds head into the holiday break at 5-3 and play at Washington on Jan. 2. However, the Hounds just shored up a scrimmage against Muscatine on Sat. Dec. 30th starting at 11 a.m. The Muskies boast senior Joe Weiskamp, who has signed to play with the Iowa Hawkeyes next year and is leading the state in scoring at 35.1 points per game. Wilson said the scrimmage is open to the public.