BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
BURLINGTON — This is what the Fort Madison High School boys basketball team has to look forward to — one more bus trip, then Christmas break, then the Bloodhounds don’t leave town for almost all of January.
That’s why head coach Ryan Wilson told his team after the Bloodhounds lost, 63-37, at Notre Dame on Saturday night to not get down on themselves.
The Bloodhounds (3-3) had a three-game winning streak snapped because of mistakes in the second half that allowed the Nikes (3-2) to take control of the game.
Asked if the defeat was disappointing, Wilson said, “Oh, for sure. Any time you take it on the chin like that, it’s going to be disappointing. There are things we could have done better.
“It’s a step backwards. But it’s like I said in the locker room, we have 15 more opportunities. If we were firing on all cylinders right now, I would be worried about what’s coming down the road. It’s progress, it’s a stepping stone.”
The Bloodhounds are nearing the end of a four-game stretch of being on the road. They won at Centerville on Monday, then won at Keokuk, 48-36, on Friday.
That game was a sign of what was coming against the Nikes.
“We win by 12 last night, give up 14 points in the second half, and we still have 25 turnovers,” Wilson said. “Clean that up, you knock 10 of those off, make more than half your free throws, you have a 25-point win.
“Notre Dame played hard tonight. Those kids played hard. I don’t think our kids was ready for it.”
Notre Dame’s zone defense played havoc with the Bloodhounds.
“They went to the zone, our guys decided to pass it around, and then it was easy turnovers for them,” Wilson said. “With this team, with the offense we run, it’s not something I should have to draw up. We should recognize it.”
“Our issue this year is just taking care of the ball. We talk about being disciplined, how to be quick without hurrying. I don’t know how many times I’ve talked about it. That’s the issue right now — taking care of the ball, playing defense, doing the things you’re coached to do.”
Dayton Davis led Fort Madison with 10 points. Miles Dear and Reiburn Turnbull each had seven points.
Fort Madison plays at Washington on Tuesday night before heading into the Christmas break. After that, the Bloodhounds play five home games as well as crosstown rival Holy Trinity.
Wilson wants momentum heading into that stretch.
“If we’re going to hang our heads for the next three days, we’re going to take it on the chin Tuesday night,” Wilson said. “We have to be ready to play.”