BY JOHN BOHNENKAMP
FORT MADISON – It was a game, at least, for Fort Madison’s girls basketball team.
It had been two weeks since the Bloodhounds had played, and it showed in a 53-40 home loss to Keokuk on Friday night.
Fort Madison (8-3 overall, 3-3 Southeast Conference) had its five-game winning streak snapped, although it seemed like it had been a long time since that last win. The Bloodhounds hadn’t played since a 43-37 win over Central Lee on January 8.
“I think we had some rust on us a little bit,” Fort Madison coach Tony Sargent said.
Keokuk (11-3, 8-0), ranked 12th in Class 4A, used its size advantage to slow Fort Madison’s offense. And then the Chiefs’ speed took over.
That quickness was evident in Keokuk’s 11-2 run to end the first quarter. Abby Wolter had back-to-back layups at the end of an 8-0 run.
“Our biggest problem was getting back on fast breaks,” Sargent said. “If we could have shut their fast breaks down, the game would have been close.”
The Chiefs’ defense kept Fort Madison leading scorer Malarie Ross from getting open. Ross, who averages 24 points per game, finished with 16 points, but she either had the 5-foot-11 Wolter in front of her, or various double-teams.
“We took it strong to the basket in the first half and got fouled, and then didn’t make the free throws,” Sargent said. “The second half, we just didn’t take it to the basket.”
The Bloodhounds didn’t have the size to match Wolter, who finished with 17 points. Kayde Martin had 10 points for the Chiefs, who won their 10th consecutive game. Makenna Altgibers also had 10.
Fort Madison’s schedule is about to get crowded, with three games next week.
“We’ve got a lot of games into early February,” Sargent said. “We’ll be in pretty good shape by the end of that.”