Knipe sparks Lady Hounds in home win

The Lady Hounds' Camille Kruse looks to score as the Mt. Pleasant Panther's Andrea Lopreato defends. Kruse had 15 points in the Hounds 65-53 win. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Ross goes for 23 as Fort Madison girls move to 6-2 on the year


FORT MADISON – After starting the 3rd period going 0-11 from the field, Molly Knipe decided she was going to step out – and step up.

The 5’7″ junior had taken just two three-pointers in six games so far this year, but with about 3:15 left in the third quarter and the Hounds up by just a point at 37-36, she stepped out on the right wing and buried a 3-ball that ignited a 19-3 run.

That run vaulted the Hounds to a 64-53 Southeast Conference win over Mt. Pleasant in the Hound Dome Friday night.

The Hounds hadn’t played since Dec. 21 and it showed in the first half as Fort Madison couldn’t shake the Panthers scrappy junior Andrea Lopreato.

Fort Madison sophomore Taylor Johnson works inside against Mt. Pleasants Jaden Brumbaugh in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 64-53 Fort Madison win. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“We’ve been having a slow starts in the third quarter. I don’t know why. But we’ve been shooting a lot – a lot in practice. We shoot all the time,” Sargent said.

“Sometimes I thought we were shooting to quick early on. I don’t mind ’em shooting threes but we got a get a little better ball movement and work the defense. There was some times there where we were just jacking threes.”

The Lady Hounds started with a bucket by Anna Lynk on a nice interior pass off a cut in the lane from Camille Kruse. They didn’t relinquish the lead until Mt. Pleasant got three offensive rebounds on one trip and Lapreato scored on a scoop shot underneath to give the Panthers a 17-16 lead in the opening minutes of the second period.

Lynk would bury a 3-ball from the right win with 5:22 left in the half to put FM back on top. Mt. Pleasant would then go on a 5-0 run over the next two minutes for a 22-19 lead capped by Kenna Lamm’s 3-pointer.

FMHS leading scorer Malarie Ross got her first open look on the Hounds’ next possession. Ross typically attracts man-to-man defense on the perimeter and then runs into sagging zones inside as opponents try to contain the senior, who was averaging 24 points per game before the break.

With Sargent hollering out for the Hounds to start swinging the ball around the perimeter, Ross broke free on the right wing and hit a 3-ball to tie things back up at 22.

Fort Madison would push the lead to 29-26 at the half with Ross and Lynk leading the way with 13 and 10 points. Ten of Ross’ came in the second quarter.

Aside from going 3 of 4 from the free throw line in the opening five minutes of the 3rd, Fort Madison missed their first 11 shots and trailed by two at 36-34 with 3:27 left in the period.

Knipe then hit her first three from the right. The Hounds would get a stop on the next possession and Kruse would get open in a quicker paced offense on the baseline in front of the Bloodhound bench and lace a 3-pointer.

Jaden Brumbaugh would score and get fouled in the paint on the Panther’s next trip to cut the lead to one at 40-39. But Irelynd Sargent scored inside and then Kruse pulled up outside again for another 3-pointer for a 45-39 lead as the Hounds pulled away.

Knipe would hit two more 3-balls on Fort Madison’s next two possessions prompting a smile and an arms up reaction from Tony Sargent on the bench. Knipe, who averages just over a point a game working inside for rebounds, scored nine points in less than three minutes in the stretch.

Ross converted a couple free throws to make it a 19-point game at 60-41 and Sargent began going to the bench.

“I think we’re right where we need to be. Our girls are in better shape and doing better,” Sargent said.

“Mt. Pleasant was getting tired. We were getting some fast break points in there and the game was very physical, but we did a nice job in the second half.”

Ross finished right at her average with 23 points, 10 steals, and six rebounds. Camille Kruse added 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Lynk scored 10 and Knipe had nine points and seven boards.

Lapreato led Mt. Pleasant (4-7) with 23 points.

Fort Madison is 6-2 on the year with back-to-back losses to Fairfield and Keokuk. They travel to Central Lee for an early 4 p.m. game tonight in four-game jv/varsity boys girls set.

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