BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
BURLINGTON – The Fort Madison girls basketball team couldn’t have picked a better time to find their second win of the season.
The Lady Hounds held on for a 46-44 win over host Burlington in the first round of Class 4A regional action Wednesday night at Carl Johannsen Gym.
The Grayhounds had handed Fort Madison a 46-40 loss nine days ago in a game also played at Burlington.
Fort Madison Head Coach Todd McGhghy said he prepared for what the Grayhounds have done all year and instituted a new press breaker, but the Burlington jazzed things up.
“We were much better prepared for everything that they had done the last time we played them,” McGhghy said.
“We go and prepare for 1-2-2, we prepare for a diamond press, and then they show up in a 1-3-1 so we went into a little bit of panic mode.”
That came about in the fourth quarter when Burlington slapped on a full court zone press, which turned into a 6-1 run where the Grayhounds took their first lead of the second half at 35-34.
After McGhghy called a full timeout, senior Jazzmine Bass leaked behind the press and Kester found her down court where Bass was able to score in transition to give Fort Madison the lead back at 36-35.
The Hounds would stretch the lead to six on a 3-ball from the left wing by junior guard Anna Kester. But BHS senior Kayla Glasgow hit a three to pull the game to within three and prompting a Grayhound time out.
Senior Braxtyn McGhghy would convert a couple free throws and then, with Fort Madison in the early bonus, Kester would convert a couple more to give Fort Madison a comfortable 45-38 lead with 1:03 left in the game.
Glasgow would hit on another long ball with :37 left to cut the lead to four and prompt another Grayhound timeout. The Grayhounds were forced to foul to try and get a possession. Kester was fouled quickly by Breanna Porter, but missed the front end.
The Hounds went down the floor and Porter threw up a shot on the run that missed of the back of the rim and the Hounds cleaned up the miss and headed the other way where Rashid was fouled bringing the ball up to put the Hounds in the double bonus. Rashid missed the first freebee, but converted the second for a 46-41 lead.
Junior Bailey Wiemann hit a three-ball with 00.2 on the clock and the Hounds didn’t have time to call a time out before the buzzer sounded on their season, down 46-44.
Kester’s two long balls in the second half provided a little cushion for the late run. She said she has confidence with the ball late, but could see any of her teammates taking those shots.
“I think any of my teammates can make a shot when they’re open. I have confidence in all of them with the ball,” Kester said.
She said despite the Lady Hounds having only two wins on the year and three wins total over the past two years, they are starting to play like a team.
“It feels like we worked hard as a team this year and we’re turning a corner. We’re getting the new stuff that Coach McGhghy has put in and it’s finally paying off,” Kester said.
“We didn’t know a bunch of the stuff he’s been teaching us, but it’s nice to finally be able to play good basketball.”
Burlington jumped out to a shallow 7-6 lead at the end of a first quarter that saw the Grayhounds shoot a chilly 3-11 from the field. The Hounds were just as cold going 2 for 8 and hit 2-of 4 from the free throw line.
The Hounds tied it up quickly in the 2nd quarter on a free throw from McGhghy. But Fort Madison would only get two buckets the rest of the half. With just a three-point lead at 16-13 with 2:35 left in the second quarter, Hound junior Maddie Rashid pulled up from about 20 feet out on the left win for a three-pointer, but was fouled on the play by Wiemann.
Rashid drained all three freethrows on the play and pushed Fort Madison to a 19-13 lead. Then Burlington’s Angel Baylark would hit on a turn-around jumper from about seven feet out to close it four at 19-15 and that’s where the score would stay until the half.
Fort Madison led by as many as eight in the third, highlighted by a bucket from Bass at 3:36 to give Fort Madison a 25-17 lead, but Burlington would battle back on a 8-0 run capped by a Porter basket.
Kester would then hit one of her 3s, to at 1:42 to give the Hounds a little breathing room. Bass would score again with just :21 left in the 3rd for a 32-27 advantage at the end of three quarters.
Kester would finish with 12 points on the night. They would get eight each from Rashid and Bass. McGhghy scored seven points, Brandy Walker had five, while Nadia Boeding, Anna Lynk each had three points.
Burlington was led by Baylark’s 12. Alexis Standard pitched in with 11 and Glasgow had nine in the loss. Burlington finished the year 4-16.
The Bloodhounds will now face Keokuk, at Keokuk, in the Region 6 semifinal on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m.