TIFFIN — The fire alarm provided some needed humor to the Fort Madison High School girls basketball team on Saturday night.
It’s been a season of every emotion for the Bloodhounds, starting with the grief over the death of head coach Tony Sargent before the season.
So, when the Bloodhounds and everyone else in the gymnasium were sent outside when the fire alarm went off during the Class 4A regional semifinal against Clear Creek Amana, Sargent’s daughter Toni, now Fort Madison’s head coach, said she wondered who might have been responsible for the alarm.
“We kind of thought maybe my dad was in charge of pulling that fire alarm,” Sargent said, smiling and trying to laugh through the tears that always come at the end of a season. “Maybe to get us moving a little bit.”
The Bloodhounds’ season ended with a 62-28 loss to the seventh-ranked Clippers, who advanced to Tuesday’s regional final against North Scott.
Fort Madison ended its season with a 16-7 record.
“I’m nothing but proud of them,” Sargent said. “This group has been so fun to coach. They get along. There’s no drama. They’re unselfish. They’re just a great group of girls.”
The Clippers (17-4) scored the game’s first eight points as Fort Madison had two turnovers and missed three shots to open the game. Clear Creek Amana led 16-6 after the first quarter and was up 22-6 when the game was stopped.
Clear Creek Amana’s Meg Berkland had made the first of two free throws when the fire alarm went off. A minute later, an evacuation of the gym was ordered and everyone headed outside.
Players from both teams weren’t allowed to get anything from their locker rooms, so they were sitting outside in the uniforms, waiting with everyone else until firefighters arrived.
“We got them some blankets, tried to keep them warm,” Sargent said.
There was no fire, and everyone was let back into the gym. The delay began at 7:18 p.m., and play resumed at 7:45 after the two teams were allowed a five-minute warmup.
Berkland missed her second free throw, but it didn’t slow the Clippers, who led 32-10 at halftime after holding the Bloodhounds without a second-quarter field goal.
“Our shots just didn’t fall in the first half,” Sargent said. “It really put us in a bind. It did.”
Fort Madison also went the entire third quarter without a field goal, and by the time Hadley Wolfe scored on a layup early in the fourth quarter, the Bloodhounds were down 53-17.
Dayonna Davis led Fort Madison with 11 points, all in the fourth quarter. Camille Kruse finished her career with 10 points, all coming in the first half.
Kruse and Molly Knipe were the only seniors on Fort Madison’s roster this season.
“They’ve been great leaders all year,” Sargent said. “Molly’s a rebounding machine and her defense has been stellar all year. And Camille, she does everything. So we’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
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