BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – Some tenacious defense from the Fort Madison Bloodhounds gave Central Lee some fits in a 35-26 Hawks win Saturday at Central Lee.
The Hounds held MacKenzie Northup, the second leading scorer in the Southeast Iowa Superconference South Division at 16.9 point per game, to just six points on the night, but the points came early and knocked the Hounds on their heals out of the gate.
“We had a pretty good game plan, but the Northup girl came out and hit a couple three’s at the start,” said Head Coach Charlie Knipe
Northup’s long balls were the key to a 8-2 first quarter. The Hawks are averaging about 17 points per quarter, so the half-court zone defense was able to keep the Hounds within reach most of the game.
“We ran a 2-3 and tried to keep them off the boards and we were pretty successful. We just missed a lot of baskets,” Knipe said.
The Hounds hung with Central Lee in the second half being outscored only 12-9. Senior Taylor Shannon scored three unanswered with about two minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter to cut the lead to 7 at 10-17, but freshman Mya Merschman hit a 3-pointer with :20 left in the half. Senior Kamryn Bailey got the ball inside with :04 left and was fouled by the Hawks’ Daly Brisby, but only sank the front end of the two freebies and the Hounds trailed 11-20 at the end of the half.
The Hounds shooting went cold in the third quarter going just 2 for 12, despite Shannon having five steals in a period of about two minutes in the middle of the period. Fort Madison couldn’t convert the buckets in transition. Neither team could find the basket in the first half of the quarter, but the Hawks started to get back on track with a bucket by Anna Krehbiel to give the Hawks a 22-11 lead.
Shannon answered with a free throw and Eleesha Estrada hit to cut the lead to eight, but the Hawks Cloey Davis hit on a 3-ball to extend the lead to 11 and the Hounds wouldn’t get much closer the rest of the night.
“We were trying to get some movement on offense,” Knipe said. “I’m really proud of how these girls played against one of the best teams in the state in their class,’ said head coach Charlie Knipe.
Bailey led the Hounds with 10 points from the post position. Shannon had seven on the night and Anna Kester added five. Braxtyn McGhghy and Maggie Rashid each had a bucket for the Hounds.
Fort Madison is off until Friday when they play host to Washington at the Hound-Dome.