BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It was shaping up to be another buzzer beater between the Bloodhounds and the Mt. Pleasant Panthers Friday night.
Just before the holiday break, Fort Madison’s Logan Rashid converted a free throw with no time on the clock to beat Mt. Pleasant on the road. But in the rematch at the Hound Dome Friday night, the Hound rally came up short as Mt. Pleasant knocked off Fort Madison 52-47 in Southeast Conference boys basketball action.
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Fort Madison was trailing 47-40 with 1:45 left on the clock in the game, when Logan Rashid drove the lane from the top of the key and was fouled by 6’4″ Sam Beatty. Rashid hit both free throws to make it 42-47.
The Panthers had run a stall in the previous possession that took almost 1:30 off the clock and then scored on an easy bucket inside senior Rhett Zeglin after Fort Madison got stretched chasing the extended offense around looking for a turnover.
The Hounds tried to press the Panthers off Rashid’s free throws to keep them from setting up the stall again and FM’s Jace Burgher fouled Zeglin going for a steal on an outlet pass over the halfcourt line, which put the Panthers into the first bonus situation of the game.
Zeglin made just the front end of a free throw that clanked off the back of the rim, sat dead for a moment and then rolled into the net. He missed the second and the Hounds were off to the races with 1:24 left on the clock down 48-42.
Rashid hit senior Brandon Keester on a pass up the floor and Keester pulled up from 24′ on the left wing in front of the Fort Madison student section and laced a 3-ball to cut the lead to two at 45-47.
Mt. Pleasant would take an inbound pass off the Keester bucket and throw the second pass into the Panther bench for a turnover, but Rashid would lose the handle on the way back to the Hound side of the court.
On the inbound, the Hounds would go for another steal, but freshman Dayton Davis would get tangled up with Keegan Kohorst trying to pick off a pass up the court. Kohorst made both freebies to make it 50-45. Rashid, who finished with a team high 17 points on the night, would then again penetrate off the dribble this time from the left baseline and score on a reverse layup with two Panthers chasing him through the lane, to cut the lead to 50-47.
Fort Madison would call a timeout, to set up a play on the inbounds, but the Panthers would get the ball in and down the floor to Beatty who would score in the transition to set the final at 52-47.
Fort Madison had trouble with ball control most of the night, giving up 11 turnovers, four in the first nine minutes, and were out rebounded regularly on the offensive board, as junior Jayden Fedler had an off night inside with Beatty being able to control the inside game for most of the night.
The Bloodhounds opened the scoring on a short jumper by Rashid, but Mt. Pleasant would then outpace the Hounds 12-7 the rest of the quarter with Kohorst, Zegin, and Beatty doing the damage.
Fort Madison clamped down on the defense in the 2nd quarter allowing just seven shots from the floor, four of which the Panthers missed. Junior Parker Denning hit a three pointer to cut the lead to 14-12 in the opening seconds of the second.
Denning then converted a 3-point play scoring underneath with a foul by Beatty, who got turned around on a pretty pass from Rashid that slipped through on a fast break. Denning converted the free throw to bring Fort Madison to within one at 18-17.
Mt. Pleasant’s Brody Bender would make the front end of a free throw in the Panthers’ next possession and then Davis would score for Fort Madison on a drive from the left side to tie it up at 19.
The two teams would tie again at 21 and then Rashid would score the final four points of the half on two short jumpers, the last of which was an 18-foot fade away as time expired with Fort Madison up 25-21.
Keester would start the 3rd quarter with a bucket, but then Mt. Pleasant would score on the next six possessions and tie the game at 34 when Kohorst would complete a three-point play when he was fouled inside by Davis.
Mt. Pleasant would take the lead for good when Beatty out-wrestled Denning for a high inbound pass at the half-court line and raced to the other end for a dunk to give the Panthers a 38-35 lead at the end of three.
After Rashid’s 17 points, Keester finished with 12, as the only two players in double figures for Fort Madison. Denning finished with eight points and Davis added two. Fedler, who led the conference in scoring at almost 15 points per game, was held to just two points on the night. Jordyn Gerdes also scored a bucket to round out the scoring for Fort Madison.
Mt. Pleasant had three players in double figures led by Beatty’s 18. They are 7-8 overall and 3-4 in conference play.
The Hounds (6-10 overall, 3-3, conference) take on Central Lee Saturday night in the 10th Annual Cake Auction night. The girls varsity game starts at 5 p.m. with the boys to follow. Cakes will be auctioned off at breaks during both games.