Ross’ 24 not enough to overcome five 2nd half 3s from Keokuk
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
KEOKUK – It looked early on like Malarie Ross and company were going to have an easy go of it on the road in Keokuk.
The Hounds opened a 10-2 lead in the first quarter, but Keokuk got hot from long-range in the final 10 minutes to come away with a 50-46 win over Fort Madison Friday night in Southeast Conference girls basketball action.
Keokuk opened the game shooting just 1 of 7 from the floor, but then senior Abby Wolter scored six straight and Natalie Ames hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 10 in a span of about two minutes in the opening period.
Fort Madison would then go on a 10-0 run, including Ross’ 3-pointer from the left wing and seemed to have put the hiccup behind them with 17-10 lead. They would push the lead to 21-13 when Ross slipped into the lane with a scoop shot under the basket with about two minutes left in the second period.
Keokuk would cut the lead to four at halftime 22-18 when Wolters again scored inside.
The Chiefs would come out of the break and tie the score at 24 as Fort Madison struggled shooting in the third period going just 4 of 12 and missing nine of their first 10 shots from the field.
Keokuk would take its first lead with 3:21 left in the third when Makayla Altgilbers would score inside for a 26-24 lead. The Chiefs would go up by as much as seven at 31-24 before Ross put up nine unanswered in the final 90 seconds of the period including a 3-ball with :06 left on the clock to give Fort Madison a 32-31 lead.
But Makenna Altgilbers would beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer of her own at the other end to give Keokuk the lead back for good at 34-32.
A Wolters bucket at the four-minute mark of the 4th period gave Keokuk it’s biggest lead at 45-36. Camille Kruse would answer at the other end for Fort Madison to make it a 7-point affair.
Fort Madison got stops on Keokuk’s next six possessions and would cut the lead to just two at 45-43 when Kruse, who missed two free throws at the 2:20 mark, connected on both ends with 1:13 left.
Wolters would answer with two free throws as Ross fouled her on the next possession. Then Kruse would score inside again for Fort Madison with just over a minute left with the Hounds trailing by two 47-45.
Ames would score in transition with :15 left after the teams exchanged a free throw each, and then Irelynd Sargent and Ross both missed buckets in the final seconds to try and salvage the game.
The Bloodhounds played with just three girls on the bench and Ross and Kruse played all 32 minutes for Fort Madison. But Head Coach Tony Sargent said that wasn’t an excuse in the loss.
“I thought Malarie had a good game. She was still knocking them down at the end of the game, so it wasn’t fatigue,” Sargent said.
“But when you have this number of girls you can’t scrimmage. It’s hard to run drills for kids – hard to run up and down. It’s hard to do all the things we’d like to do. We just don’t have the numbers to work on things. No excuses. I felt we should have won the ball game.”
Keokuk connected on five 3-pointers in the second half to keep the game close.
Sargent said because of the shortage of girls out, the Hounds haven’t progressed the way he’d hoped because of the limitations of practice.
“I was hoping we’d be team ready by the first of January. But now we may not be there until the first of February,” he said. “But (Keokuk) shot lights out that last part of the game. Take your hats off to them for doing what they needed to do to win.”
Ross had 24 on the night. Kruse chipped in with 15, while Sargent and Anna Lynk both had three in the loss. The Hounds fall to 3-2 on the year, while Keokuk improves to 4-3 on the season.
Fort Madison travels to Quincy tonight.