BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – The drought was long and costly.
And it left Fort Madison’s girls basketball team scrambling throughout the second half of Friday’s 46-38 home loss to Fairfield.
Fort Madison (3-1) went without a field goal for the final nine minutes of the first half as Fairfield (3-1) built a 26-14 halftime lead.
The Bloodhounds tried to rally in the second half, getting to within five points twice. But Fairfield was able to close out the win.
“I thought we had some good looks,” Fort Madison coach Tony Sargent said. “We just didn’t make any of them. When you’ve got layups and good shots that don’t fall, they just don’t fall. You can account it to whatever, but we just didn’t make shots.
“If we had made some shots early and been closer, maybe things would have been different.”
“I thought we played good team defense,” Fairfield coach Pat Pacha said.
Pacha said the Trojans’ main goal was to try to slow Fort Madison leading scorer Malarie Ross. Ross finished with 18 points, but 16 of those came in the second half. Ross’ only first-half points came on two free throws.
“Anna Dunlap, one of the quickest players for us, had one job, and that was to deny Malarie Ross the ball as much as possible,” Pacha said. “I thought she did a good job of that, and when Ross did get away, we did a good job of closing out with help.”
Ross hit a 3-pointer with 6:05 to play that got Fort Madison within 36-31. The two teams traded baskets before the Trojans went on a 6-0 run to put the game away.
Sargent said the Bloodhounds are still a work in progress.
“I thought we did a good job,” Sargent said. “The effort was there. We didn’t foul when we should have, we didn’t push the ball as hard as we should have. It’s just going to take time.
“We just need to keep working at it. And by the middle of January, the first of February, we’ll have it figured out.”
“Tony’s got a good defensive team too,” Pacha said. “We scored 46, or whatever, and we played great defense. We’ll take it.”