BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Lady Hounds shook off a rare weekend loss and slow start Tuesday to rebound for a 62-45 win over Danville in Fort Madison
Brandy Walker had a season-high 21 as she went to work inside in the second half to propel the Lady Hounds to 16-2 on the year.
Danville opened the game with 7-0 run, but Fort Madison Head Coach Tony Sargent held off calling a time out and let Fort Madison fight there way out of the deficit.
Once the girls got their bearings, the Hounds raced to a 15-13 first quarter lead on Malarie Ross’ 3-ball from the right wing at the buzzer.
Danville ran a match up zone in the first quarter and chased Ross, who’s averaging right at 20 points a game, all over the court.
“We tried to get some screens for her in the first quarter, but that wasn’t working. We were able to get her some open looks the rest of the night, though,” Sargent said.
Walker had just six points in the first half and she struggled with Danville’s Drew Fox in the post.
Danville would fight back to knot things up at 17 in the second quarter on a bucket by Ava Smith with 3:34 left in the half.
Fort Madison scored on a couple free throws from Ross with just over a minute gone, but Danville held the hosts scoreless until Molly Knipe broke a Lady Hounds 0-6 streak from the field and scored inside on a nice no-look bounce pass from Ross through the lane for a 19-17 Hounds lead.
Makenzie Morris would answer for the Bears and then Walker would score on Fort Madison’s next possession on an assist from Camille Kruse. The Hounds would take a 23-20 lead into the half.
Ross and Walker both would shake off the rusty first half and combine for 27 of Fort Madison’s points in the second half as the Hounds pulled away quickly in the 3rd period outscoring the Bears 23-8.
“Brandy played really well in the second half,” Sargent said. “I think that’s probably her best game in a couple years.”
At one point in the third Fort Madison was on a 11-0 run before Danville’s Cassidy Yaley got a bucket out of a Bears’ timeout, but that’s all the scoring the visitors would get the rest of the period with the Hounds leading 49-28.
Fort Madison would maintain leads of 22 to 23 points before Sargent began emptying the bench with about four minutes left in the game.
Sargent said Irelynd Sargent had a nice game on the boards hauling in 13 on the night from her guard position. The scrappy freshman had seven offensive rebounds in the first half.
“That’s probably the best game rebounding we’ve had here in a while. I think Molly Knipe had 12 or something last year, but that was impressive.”
Ross would finish with 17 on the night behind Walker. Kruse had eight points, while Delanee Seay finished with six and Nadia Boeding had a 3-pointer. Knipe, Sargent and Taylor Johnson all had two points in the win.
The Hounds are off until Friday when they wrap up Southeast Conference action at home against Burlington. Then Fort Madison will play Missouri’s No. 1 Class 3 team in Monroe City on Saturday for the last scheduled regular season game.
Sargent said he would entertain the idea of finding another game if the Hounds were to get a bye in the first round of regionals.
The 4A brackets are due out this week.