BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Head Coach Ryan Wilson said it’s never too late to teach lessons.
A big one came with about three minutes left in the third quarter of the Bloodhounds’ 57-50 loss to Washington on Friday night at the Hound Dome.
Senior Jayden Fedler slammed the ball to the floor late in the third quarter after being whistled for a foul and was hit with a technical foul as he walked away from official Tobias Lunsford.
Fedler didn’t get back in the game.
“At some point as a senior you have to realize you gotta keep your composure. I didn’t call him out specifically, but you gotta learn,” Wilson said.
At the time, Fort Madison was down 14 after Kasen Bailey sank all four of the free throws off the fouls and technical. The Demons’ Brock Sebaski scored on the free possession to make it a 16-point game before Fort Madison’s Mike Mosena would score on a 3-point play to cut it to 13.
But the play would kick start a 7-0 run into the fourth quarter where Fort Madison cut the lead to 9 at 35-44 after Dayton Davis converted a couple free throws.
Bailey, who went 14 of 14 from the free throw line and led the Demons (6-2, 4-0) with 21 points, answered with a three-point play of his own to stretch it back to 12 at 35-47.
But the Hounds would keep chipping away at the lead with Fedler on the bench, cutting the lead to five at 47-52 when Romeo Maestro scored on a putback of Davis’ miss.
With about 1:45 left in the game, Fort Madison would miss five of six free throws as the Hounds defense tightened up and a man press forced some Washington turnovers and fouls.
Denning and Maestro would miss both freebies in the double bonus and Mosena would miss his first and make his second to narrow the gap to 48-52 with a minute left.
Denning would then foul Washington’s Trevor Quigley who sank two free throws. Denning would answer with two of his career-high 21 at the other end to cut the lead to three with :28 seconds left.
Miles Dear would foul Quigley who would convert both freebies at the other end and Bailey would seal the win with a couple more free throws.
Wilson said the poor free throw shooting down the stretch was disappointing, but he likes his chances with those three at the line. The Hounds were 8-9 from the line in the fourth quarter until missing the final five of six.
“Put me in that situation again and you give me Romeo, Parker, and Mike at the free throw line, we make four of six,” Wilson said. “And then give them credit, they go down and make five of six.”
Wilson said Denning’s performance showed he needs to be aggressive on offense.
“A guy like Parker we need to him to go, He’s gotta go. He’s gotta shoot and be aggressive,” Wilson said.
The Hounds trailed 29-18 at the half after the Demons’ freshman Ethan Patterson hit a 3-ball from the left wing at the buzzer for the 11-point lead.
Davis finished with 12 points and Fedler had seven for Fort Madison.
The Bloodhounds are off until Friday when they travel to Mt. Pleasant for a freshman/junior varsity/varsity trip.