BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR –
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison post Jayden Fedler may have established himself as one of the dominant inside players in southeast Iowa Thursday night.
The 6’4″ junior shattered his career high dumping 41 on a Danville Bears team that couldn’t seem to find an answer to Fedler’s reign in the lane as Fort Madison downed visiting Danville 72-63 in non-conference high school boys basketball action.
“He finished… he made free throws… and he’s a good as there are in southeast Iowa, but he’s gotta stay hungry and keep working and that’s a big focus for us to be successful. He has to get those post touches,” said FMHS head coach Ryan Wilson.
Wilson said the school record is 44 set by two people, including current Holy Trinity head coach John Hellige back in 1988.
Fedler said he was just thinking about keeping the wins going after a win on Saturday at Centerville.
“I think about wins. I want to get my team going and win as a team, but I got a lot of opportunities to score tonight and I did,” Fedler said.
The first quarter started with the teams exchanging leads after Fort Madison jumped out to a 5-1 lead on Parker Denning’s 3-ball from the left wing. Danville’s Tristan Miller brought the Bears back with a bucket and a 3-pointer back-to-back to give Danville its first lead at 6-5. Fort Madison’s Logan Rashid would counter with a 3-pointer off a nice dribble move at the top of the key and the Hounds would knot the game at 10s when Brandon Keester slid a bounce pass down the baseline to Fedler for two of his 15 first half points.
After trading leads the rest of the way, Danville’s Max Wilcox hit to put Danville up by four, but freshman Dayton Davis hit a 3-ball from the left baseline with just :02 left on the clock to cut the lead to 15-16 at the end of the first.
With Fedler getting a breather out of the break, senior Jordyn Gerdes took over inside for Fort Madison and scored in back-to-back possessions to give the Hounds a 19-18 lead. Wilcox would hit again to turn the lead back to Danville before senior Brandon Keester buried a long ball on the left baseline in front of the Danville bench for a 22-20 Hound lead.
Miller would then hit a three for the Bears before Gerdes would miss three straight under the basket and the Hounds turned it over. Danville’s Reid Yaley then hit to give Danville a three point lead with 3:54 left in the half.
Fedler would pull Fort Madison back with a bucket and four unanswered from the free throw line to put Fort Madison up 28-27, which would be a lead they would never relinquish. Danville would only score one more point in the half when senior Bryce Carr hit on the front end of a one-and-one. Keester would score five points in the final two minutes and Rashid would cap the half with a 3-pointer in a 14-1 run that gave Fort Madison a 38-28 lead at the break.
Danville would make a couple runs late in the third period to get back in the game. Bryce Carr would score back-to-back buckets and Taran Nelson would score at the end of the period in a 7-0 run to cut Fort Madison’s lead to four at 50-46.
Miller’s three pointer to open the fourth cut the lead to one point. Fedler would score again inside and complete a three-point play to put the Hounds back up by 4. Carr hit a three pointer for Danville to make it a 59-57 game, Keester would answer on the next trip down, and then the Hounds would go on a 7-4 run to make it 66-61. Danville would only muster one more bucket from Taylor Kensett and Fedler scored six straight to seal the win.
Wilson said the Hounds are just getting comfortable with each other and the play is starting to come around.
“The kids are becoming more comfortable and they’re adapting. The game is slowing down and they’re reacting better,” Wilson said. “But don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a long ways to go yet, especially defensively. It’s nice to get these two wins in a row. As long as they stay patient and run the things they are coached to run they’ll be successful.”
Keester finished with 11 points on the night and Rashid was also in double figures with 10 points. Davis and Denning both had three points and Gerdes finished with six.
The Hounds travel to Burlington-Notre Dame on Saturday for a boys/girls varsity double header. The Nikes, who were ranked in the top 15 in the state in Class 1A last week, lost for the first time to a ranked New London squad Tuesday night.