BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison High School’s boys basketball team was short-handed for Friday’s home game against Keokuk, a challenge that coach Ryan Wilson pointed out to his team this week in practice.
The Bloodhounds survived for three quarters. The fourth quarter was the one that hurt.
Fort Madison was held to four points in the final quarter, and the Chiefs pulled away for a 45-34 win.
The Bloodhounds (7-6 overall, 3-4 Southeast Conference) led 30-29 heading into the fourth quarter. But they would only get a field goal each from Dayton Davis and Matt Hopper.
“We had five turnovers and gave them five offensive rebounds,” Wilson said. “That’s the ballgame, right there. That’s your fourth quarter, that’s your ballgame.”
The Bloodhounds had just eight players available because of COVID-19 protocols.
“We knew it was going to be different,” Wilson said. “We had eight guys available, six of them have played varsity all year. It was a completely different atmosphere tonight. But that’s the COVID season, that’s part of it. And we know that.”
That left Fort Madison with not a lot of options to face the Chiefs, and the Bloodhounds eventually wore down.
“Keokuk’s a physical program,” Wilson said. “That’s who they are, that’s their nature. And we weren’t ready for that tonight. There were a lot of different times where we would get in the lane, get bumped, and we weren’t strong enough to handle that.”
Fort Madison had just four 3-pointers for the game, which allowed the Chiefs to continue to clog the inside.
“They’re going to take away the lane,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be tough for us to get to the basket. It forces us to hit from the outside. They’re going to pack it in, and make you beat them outside.”
The Chiefs (7-5, 2-3) kept Fort Madison’s top scorers, Davis and Miles Dear, in check. Davis had nine points, but seven came in the second half. Dear had five points, all in the first half.
Reiburn Turnbull led Fort Madison with 12 points.
Anthony Potratz led Keokuk with 15 points.
The Bloodhounds were scheduled to play Hillcrest Academy on Saturday, but that game was cancelled. They’ll play Tuesday against Clark County.
“We’ll get a couple of guys back on Monday, so we’ll have some more players available for that game,” Wilson said.