BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison High School’s boys basketball team isn’t getting a break after the Christmas break.
The Bloodhounds began a stretch of three games in five days with Tuesday’s 64-56 home win over Fairfield.
“We’ve got a big week,” Fort Madison coach Ryan Wilson said. “Like I told them in the locker room, that’s step one.”
It was a big step, for a lot of reasons.
The Bloodhounds (4-4 overall, 2-2 Southeast Conference) got off to a 17-2 start in the first five minutes of the game, then held on as Fairfield (1-3, 0-2) steadily chipped into the lead.
“Any time you can get out to a big lead like that, it’s big,” Wilson said. “These guys need that. They played well. They were very unselfish, especially early on.”
Keeping a lead has been a problem for Fort Madison this season. The Bloodhounds led 22-6 after the first quarter of a Dec. 14 game at Centerville before winning 72-71. They led going into the fourth quarter of the Dec. 22 game at Washington before losing 58-55.
In this game, Fairfield got to within 36-31 with 4:02 left in the third quarter before Fort Madison went on a 17-10 run capped by a Miles Dear 3-pointer.
“Our decision-making (in the fourth quarter against Washington) was a lot different than it was tonight,” Wilson said.
Fort Madison’s zone defense bothered the Trojans, especially early. Max Weaton had 28 points for Fairfield and Tate Allen had 19, but the Trojans had limited scoring options beyond those players.
“The biggest thing in that zone defense was the hands, the active hands,” Wilson said. “We forced them to do some things they’re not comfortable doing.”
The Bloodhounds got 20 points from Dayton Davis. Dear had 14 points. Tate Johnson had 10, eight coming in the fourth quarter. Reiburn Turnbull had eight, and Landes Williams and Phillip Goldie each had six.
“Our kids are growing,” Wilson said. “They’re maturing, they’re learning.”
Fort Madison plays host to Mount Pleasant on Friday before playing host to Central Lee on Saturday.