FORT MADISON – At 14-1 the Fort Madison Lady Hounds may not be getting the respect they deserve by the state, but they certainly have it in the conference.
As of Thursday, the Hounds still were not ranked in the top 17 teams in Class 4A, according to the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, but they certainly have the notice of the Southeast Conference.
The lack of wins of Fort Madison’s opponents is figuring into the equation. BCMoore Rankings which include offensive and defensive rankings as well as a strength of schedule rating, has Fort Madison ranked just 31st in the class.
Behind 25 points from Malarie Ross, the Hounds took a solid hold on the Southeast Iowa conference title with a 57-31 win over Fairfield (6-3, 4-1) Friday night to take a two-game lead for the title.
The Trojans had a plan for Ross in the first half holding the junior guard to just three points. Senior Brandy Walker, who signed with John Wood Community College in Quincy to play basketball and soccer last week, had seven of Fort Madison’s 18 first half points.
Fortunately the Hound defense was stellar in the first half as well holding Fairfield to just 15, seven in the first quarter.
Ross would get loose in transition in the second half after adjustments from Head Coach Tony Sargent. Ross would hit for three 3-balls and went 9-of-9 from the free throw line for 22 points in the half. Ross led all scorers with 25 on the night.
Fairfield outscored the Hounds 5-0 over the last three minutes of the first half to cut the lead to three at 18-15. The Hounds would crack the game open in third with an 11-point lead with two minutes left in the 3rd and pushed the lead to 20 from there.
Walker finished with nine points on the night. Irelynd Sargent had eight, Camille Kruse had six, Nadia Boeding had an early bucket and Delanee Seay added a free throw to round out Fort Madison’s scoring.
Delanee Breen had seven for Fairfield.
The Hounds take on Iowa City Liberty in an early 3 p.m. start time due to impending weather concerns.
Fairfield won the junior varsity contest 39-31. Isabella Boeding had eight to lead the Hounds. Madelyn Gobble had 17 for Fort Madison in a 50-23 freshman loss.