BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – Fort Madison Head Coach Todd McGhghy said with a smile after his Lady Hounds dropped a 60-42 loss to Burlington Notre Dame Saturday night, “We’re close.”
When pushed to explain how 0-8 Fort Madison is close, McGhghy said the Lady Hounds are 10% away from a win. Ten percent more points a quarter, 10% fewer turnovers, and 10% more rebounds.
“I told the girls in the locker room, we’re close and they said, ‘How close’ and I told ’em…10%”, McGhghy said. He is in his first year in a re-boot of the FMHS girls basketball team.
Fort Madison hung with the Nikes in the first period with the game just two points apart at 12-10 with 1:24 remaining.
Senior Braxtyn McGhghy hit a three pointer at the 2:08 mark from the left wing to give Fort Madison a 10-7 lead, but Notre Dame responded with a 3-ball from Maddie Stutsman. Fort Madison committed back-to-back turnovers and then the Nike’s Taylor Ackerman converted from just outside the lane to give Notre Dame its first lead of the game at 12-10.
Fort Madison called a :30 time out to quash the momentum and then Kylie Cashman committed a foul right out of the time out and Ackerman converted both free throws.
Brandy Walker, who’s starting to find her stride shooting inside the lane in traffic, converted to cut the lead to 12-14 but three straight turnovers led to an Ackerman 3-pointer at the top of the key to set the first quarter with Notre Dame up 17-12.
The Lady Hounds shooting then went cold for about two periods. Aside from a Walker bucket, where she yanked down a rare offensive rebound off an Anna Kester miss, FMHS wouldn’t convert another bucket until the 5:51 mark of the third period when senior Jassmine Bass scored inside. But with that bucket, the Hounds were down 40-23.
Bass would convert a free throw at 4:31 in the third as the only other point in the quarter for Fort Madison as the Nikes pulled away 44-24 at the end of three.
The Hounds’ leading scorer, Maddie Rashid, was held to just four points in the first half. She got hot in the fourth quarter when Fort Madison had cut the lead to a dozen. Rashid scored on a drive from the right side and was fouled by Notre Dame’s Molly Johnson. Rashid missed the freebie but the bucket cut the Nikes’ lead to 47-35 with five minutes left.
The Bloodhounds held Notre Dame without a bucket in the fourth quarter until Johnson scored from about 8 feet along the baseline at the 4:37 mark. Then the Nikes’ Riley Todd hit a long 3-pointer to shut down the Fort Madison comeback attempt.
Kester and Rashid led Fort Madison with 10 points each. Bass had eight points and Walker added seven. Nadia Boeding and McGhghy each finished with three and Dalyn Wondra added a free throw.
The Hounds are playing without Sarah Bernhart who’s recovering from an illness and was a top scorer for the Hounds last year. McGhghy said they will also be without freshman Anna Lynk who rolled her ankle in the junior varsity game and it isn’t known yet how long she will be out.
McGhghy said he was impressed with the effort the girls gave and said getting that first win is key to the girls’ confidence they can play with the other schools in the area.
“Again, they didn’t give up. They played 32 minutes,” he said. “We got some really good looks at shots again, and those baskets will come. We just need to get that win. We thought we could get one here and there were others here the past week or so that we should have won.”
The junior varsity squad won 50-35 behind 15 points from junior Jillian Wiseman.