BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A fairly one-sided offense and a stingy man defense helped Fort Madison to a 42-30 non-conference win over Ottumwa Monday night.
Senior Malarie Ross, who averaged close to 20 points per game last season, was held to just one bucket from the field, a 3-ball in the third period, but climbed to 14 points to lead Fort Madison going 11 of 12 from the free throw line.
Coree James had 10 points off the bench for Fort Madison. Camille Kruse and Anna Lynk both had 10 points for the Lady Hounds.
Head Coach Tony Sargent said he was happy with the play of his bench in the win.
“I’m proud of my bench, I think they’re doing pretty good,” Sargent said.
“Coree had a great game, and Alaina Simpson come out and her defense was very good.”
Fort Madison scored first and never trailed in the game. Kruse hit a three-pointer from the left wing to give the Lady Hounds a 5-1 lead. James would score inside off the dribble and then Simpson converted the second of two free throws to make it 8-1.
Ross would get on the board with her first two free throws and Kruse would hit another 3-ball to set the first quarter at 13-3.
Ottumwa cut the lead to six with about a minute left in the half at 19-13 on a bucket inside by Nellie Morgan, but Kruse would counter with a floater in the lane to make it a 21-13 Fort Madison lead at the half.
Fort Madison, who struggled from the field most of the night, went 1-8 in the third period, but got to the free throw line 10 times, converting eight, to extend the lead to 31-22 at the end of the third period.
The Bulldogs wouldn’t get within single digits the rest of the way despite the cool shooting for the Hounds. Fort Madison missed their last eight shots from the field, but Ottumwa was forced into some fouls to try and gain possessions.
Ross would bury three of four in the final minutes to shore up the win for the Hounds 1-0.
Fort Madison is coming off a 1-point win over West Burlington in the Hall of Pride scrimmage 57-56, after leading by 20 at the end of the 3rd period.
Aija Jenkins and Alaina Simpson each had a point in the win.
“I want to push the ball a little harder, but today it got kinda bad because we were in foul trouble. It’s hard to push it with just five kids. Camille didn’t even come out tonight,” Sargent said.
“Malarie didn’t have the best game from the floor, but she made up for it defensively and with steals and free throws.”