BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Head Coach Ryan Wilson says one of the Bloodhounds goals is to hold opponents to single digit quarters.
He got that in all four quarters of Saturday’s 44-21 win over Clark County, Mo., in the Hound Dome. As of a matter of fact, Fort Madison held the Indians to single digits the whole second half.
The Indians managed just four free throws in the third period and only managed two field goals attempts missing both as the Hounds built a 31-17 edge going into the fourth quarter.
Then the only buckets of the half were surrendered to Gabe Hunziker and Sam Wheeler both in the fourth quarter as Fort Madison allowed just eight points in the second half.
“We talk about single digit quarters and that’s a huge goal for us, and tonight had a single-digit half. You add that to the four single-digit quarters and we really had something going,” Wilson said.
Pesky guard play from juniors Landes Williams and Tate Johnson gave Clark County fits in the half-court set with the two regularly diving for loose balls and wayward passes.
Meanwhile, Miles Dear turned into a FMHS vending machine dealing out treats to post players Matt Hopper and Phillip Goldie.
The two combined for 15 points mostly off the nifty passes from Dear penetrating from the wings.
Goldie got things going for the Hounds in the first quarter with a couple buckets, the second tying things up at 4.
Then Johnson hit back-to-back 3 balls from the right wing and top of the key to push Fort Madison out in front 10-6. Williams would answer with another three with 1:38 left in the quarter double up the Indians 14-7.
Fort Madison hit a cool patch in the second quarter going just 1-8 from the field with junior Dayton Davis getting the only points – a 3-ball from the right wing about midway through.
Clark County was just a little warmer outscoring the Hounds 6-3 in the second quarter, but still trailed by 5 in the low scoring affair 18-13 at the half.
Then Fort Madison’s defense kicked into high(er) gear and Dear would bury a three-pointer in front of the Hounds bench off an inbounds play to give Fort Madison a 25-15 lead with five minutes left in the third.
Leighton Rockhold would score inside on another nice inlet pass from Dear off dribble penetration from the right side. Hopper would score from under the hoop on the next trip down when Dear, again off the dribble from the low right side, slid a ball in around two defenders.
“Miles had his struggles last year as a sophomore. He’s a kid that when he gets down, he gets down and I told him to trust the process,” Wilson said.
“The last two games he’s played really well. He’s been our floor general.”
On about a half-dozen occasions, Dear snuck a pass inside to players that weren’t ready for the ball, a dynamic that wasn’t lost on Wilson.
“He sees the floor so well and as long as guys are ready he’s gonna find them,” Wilson said. “But they gotta be ready to catch the ball and finish.”
The Hounds were without several players in the regular rotation including Reiburn Turnbull, who suffered an injury to knuckle earlier this week. Wilson said they are taking their time with injury.
The Hounds were without a couple of other players as well, but Wilson said the back court play, especially on defense was the difference in the game.
“I can’t say enough about the effort of Tate and Landes about how well they played tonight. Fighting for loose balls and getting deflections at the top of our zone,” he said.
“That’s the stuff that’s exciting. It gets everybody excited.”
Davis led the Hounds with 10 points followed by Johnson and Goldie each with eight. Hopper had seven and Williams had six on two three-pointers one in each half. Dear finished with three points and Rockhold added a bucket.
Sam Wheeler had 10 points for the Indians.
The Hounds move to 1-2 on the year and are scheduled to travel to Centerville Monday night in jayvee/varsity double header.