BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Lady Hounds have been competitive in all but a handful of games this season and in some respects, you can hang your hat on that.
But Head Coach Tony Sargent can’t help but see how many games have slipped away from the Fort Madison girls this year. Monday was another example as the Hounds let a 6-point third quarter lead slip away and fell to Davenport West 43-36 at the Hound Dome.
The ladies shot a dismal 3-19 in the fourth quarter and just 6-32 in the second half. At one point, the Lady Hounds went 0-14 in the stretch wiping out a 23-19 third quarter lead letting the Falcons (2-15) back in the game.
Fairfield jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind four points from sophomore 6’3″ Kylee Devore, but Fort Madison shook off the rough start and outscored the Falcons by 5-0 capped by Sarah Bernhart’s free throw.
Freshman Camille Kruse hit a three ball with 5:37 left in second period to knot the score up at 8. The teams would exchange buckets the rest of the way with the Hounds’ Brandy Walker hitting a layup in transition just prior the buzzer for an 18-17 halftime lead.
Kruse hit another 3-pointer to put Fort Madison up by six 23-17 before sophomore Kaitlyn Powell hit a couple free throws and converted a 3-point play to cut the lead back to one.
That’s when the hoop was closed to any Fort Madison business as the Hounds went 1 for 7 for the rest of the period, with Walker scoring the only bucket with 3:31 left in the period to give Fort Madison at 25-22 lead.
By the time Fort Madison would convert another field goal, it would be a jumper from Kruse on the left wing with the Lady Hounds down 29-36.
Down by seven, the Hounds went into a full court press to try and force turnovers and slow the clock.
“We went to a full court denial and it didn’t work to our ability. It was OK, but we kept letting their best free throw shooter get the ball and that isn’t the plan, but that’s OK.”
That shooter was Powell, who went 7-of-11 from the line down the stretch to help put the game away.
A Kruse bucket with 1:15 left in the game cut the lead to four, but the Hounds kept fouling Powell who put the game away.
Sargent said he was frustrated with the Hounds’ offensive play, but said the girls didn’t play bad.
“I’m a little disappointed. Our offense didn’t seem to be in sync tonight and we didn’t do what we needed to do to win. Our defense wasn’t bad, it’s just one of the games you don’t know why.”
The Hounds shot 21% from the field and Sargent was quick to correlate that to other losses.
“We shot 17% to Washington, 18% and 22% against Mt. Pleasant. We shot 28% in our first loss against Fairfield. When we shoot in the 20s we’re not going to win very many games,” he said.
Sargent said he was hoping to finish the season with three regular season wins and has Davis County and Burlington let.
“Now I’m hoping for two,” he said.
Kruse led the Hounds with 16 points followed by Walker’s 14. Bernhard and Nadia Boeding each finished with three points.
The Hounds (6-13) travel to Albia on Thursday and round out the regular season on Friday with a trip to Burlington. District brackets for the post season should be out by Friday.