No. 1 Bloodhounds roll south of the border

Senior Tate Johnson picks the pocket of Indian guard, Gage Winters in the 3rd quarter of the Hounds 89-29 win over Clark County Tuesday night. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Dear fires in 25 to lead Fort Madison, Hopper chips in with 17

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

KAHOKA – The night was frigid, the popcorn was ho-hum, but the Bloodhound boys basketball team lived up to the hype and then some as they rolled Clark County 89-29 Tuesday night in Kahoka.

The Bloodhounds are the unanimous choice for the No. 1 team in the state in Class 3A as of Monday’s AP Iowa High School rankings, and showed all of that against the Indians. Aside from an opening tip that went to Clark County, it was all Fort Madison.

Dear

With seniors Dayton Davis and Miles Dear leading the way, the Hounds held Clark County to just nine points and carried a 50-9 halftime lead, prompting head coach Ryan Wilson to start working different combinations throughout the second half to get other players on the floor.

Matt Hopper came off the bench and nailed three 3-balls in a row in the first half, the first to end the first period. Then the senior rained in two more from the left baseline to start the second quarter. Hopper would finish with 17 on the night. Dear led Fort Madison with 25 points, Davis had 15, and Tate Johnson was also in double figures with 10.

The Bloodhounds went 9 of 15 from the field in the first quarter alone racing out to a 24-4 lead. Clark County wouldn’t get into double digit scoring until the third quarter as a menacing full court presence led to repeated steals and quick buckets in transition for Fort Madison.

Fort Madison’s Dayton Davis goes up for a dunk in the 3rd period Tuesday night. Davis finished with 15 points as Fort Madison (No. 1 Class 3A) improved to 13-0 on the year. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

“Hopper’s a great player for us. Shoots well and did that this week in practice. He comes out here and hits four 3s and a couple of freethrows. It was nice to see him have a spark tonight,” said Head Coach Ryan Wilson.

Clark County’s Drayson Daniels gave the Indians a little spark at the start of the third period with four straight buckets, but Fort Madison answered each possession and after a Davis putback about half way through the period, Fort Madison was in full command 57-17.

Wilson said it’s always tough to decide who gets playing times in lopsided games, while keeping the team focused on staying hungry.

“The hardest job as a coach is playing time. Who should play and when do you pull your seniors that have worked so hard for four years,” he said. “But we got a lot of good minutes and were able to get our sophomores in there with the seniors in the fourth quarter, and then pulled the starters with five minutes to go.”

The complacency is something Wilson said he’s seen this year, despite the Hounds’ undefeated 13-0 mark and top-ranking in the state.

“We didn’t have much to talk about after the game, just our regular end game thing, but at the half we talked about just not being complacent. Stay hungry and continue to work hard. We’ve had some games where we’ve had leads like that and then we come out and don’t take care of the ball or finish with an exclamation point,” he said.

Hopper

The Hounds were anything but complacent as they finished the fourth quarter on a 21-9 run including a 3-pointer and a 3-point play from Hopper.

Wilson said he was happy with the leadership he’s been seeing from the seniors, while Dear and Davis lead the way.

“Miles is our floor general for sure. He’s the vocal guy making sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to do,” Wilson said. “Dayton’s leadership is all through effort and how he plays. He works hard, gets deflections in the front end of the press, and does what he needs to do. They both lead in different ways.”

Fort Madison travels to Fairfield Thursday night. The Trojans are just 1-6 in Southeast Conference and 4-9 overall, but Wilson said it’s a tough road trip.

“It’s tough to play in that gym. We lost at the buzzer to them last year so they’ll be ready.”

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