BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison girls got their first win of the season in a 48-34 win over Davis County behind sophomore Sara Bernhart’s 15 points.
The win moves the Hounds to 1-19 on the year, but it also was a big motivator for freshman Maddie Rashid who finished with 11 points on the night.
“I’m just kind of excited that we got a win and our record doesn’t show a zero. I think it makes our confidence a lot better going into next season,” Rashid said after the game.
Rashid sparked a 23-9 first quarter that was probably one of Fort Madison’s most efficient quarters of the season. Rashid hit on a 3-pointer and went 4-10 from the field in the opening period for nine points.
Head Coach Charlie Knipe said the pressure was the key in the first quarter. While teams have pressed Fort Madison this year most of the year, and sometimes for full games, the Hounds were able to capitalize on some three-quarter pressure of their own, forcing four turnovers in the quarter.
“We pressed in the first quarter and got away with some turnovers and that was key to get things going,” Knipe said. “I took it off because I don’t like to run up the score, I don’t think that’s right. But getting the turnovers was the key. We also passed very well in the fast breaks.”
Rashid started the scoring on a long ball. Davis County’s Alexa Francis converted and was fouled in the lane but missed the freebie. Kamryn Bailey missed both ends of two free throws after getting fouled in the lane, but Rashid kickstarted a Hounds 10-4 run by pouring in six points.
Francis scored again for Davis County to make it 15-6, but the Hounds pulled away with another 8-3 run to end the quarter.
Shooting went cold for both teams in the second quarter as Fort Madison got one bucket from Bernhart and a free throw from sophomore Anna Kester for just three points in the period. The Hounds were a dismal 1-14 from the field and 1-5 from the charity stripe.
But Davis County didn’t fare much better. They outscored the hosts 8-3 in the period but were just 3-11 from the field and 2-of-6 from the line giving Fort Madison a 26-17 lead at halftime.
“They adjusted well with their zone offense to what we were doing,” Knipe said. “I think we got a little lazy and content and forgot what we we’re doing.”
The Mustangs again outscored Fort Madison in the third period 9-8 and had cut the deficit to eight at 34-26. The Hounds shot just 2-8 in the period and committed five turnovers. Bailey led the way with three points in the period.
Francis cut the lead to six on a bucket to start the final period, but senior Taylor Shannon hit a couple of free throws with 6:18 left to push the lead back to eight. Bernhart missed underneath on the next possession but grabbed the board and scored. Mustang senior Kennedy Clyman hit inside to make it eight again 38-30 but the Hounds would limit Davis County to just four more points the rest of the way. Bernhart put in six in the final three minutes to seal the deal for the Hounds.
“These girls work so hard and they deserved a win. It’s huge for these underclassman,” Knipe said. “They have heart and continue to practice hard and they want to learn. We are very young, but we’re slowly getting it.”
Shannon and Bailey each finished with eight points on the night. Kester had five, Braxtyn McGhygy had one to round out the scoring for Fort Madison. Shannon had eight boards and Kester had five assists to lead the 1-19 Hounds who play Friday night against Fairfield in a varsity girls/boys doubleheader on Senior Night at the Hound Dome. Regional action will start on Wednesday when FMHS takes on Washington at 7 p.m. in Washington.
In the junior varsity matchup, FMHS won 37-34. Nadia Boeding led the Hounds with 14 points including a sterling 8-of-8 shooting from the free throw line. Eleesha Estrada had 10, including a critical 3-ball in the final period. Dalyn Wondra had seven and Kylee Cashman put in four. Kailyn Guzman added a bucket to round out the scoring.