The cheer went up from the Fort Madison High School girls basketball team澳门开奖 locker room moments after Monday澳门开奖 game.

The Bloodhounds rallied for a 39-35 season-opening win over Ottumwa at the Hound Dome, giving Landon Bentley a victory in his first game as head coach.

With more questions than answers after graduating leading scorer and all-state player Camille Kruse, this one had a special meaning for the Bloodhounds for many reasons.

In the end, it was a total team effort which gave the Bloodhounds a victory on an otherwise, dreary, drab, rainy night.

鈥淚t澳门开奖 big. It澳门开奖 real big, man. This just sets the tone for the season,鈥 said senior Aija Jenkins, who drained a pair of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to put the Bloodhounds ahead to stay. 鈥淚t was a team effort, for sure. We got in a bit of foul trouble. We had to sub some girls in that are usually in different positions. It was tough, but I think we played as a team and that澳门开奖 how we won the game.鈥

Sophomore Halle Menke sank a pair of free throws in the final 31 seconds to help Fort Madison fend off the feisty Bulldogs.

鈥淚 have to make these or we will lose,鈥 Menke said. 鈥淚 wasn鈥檛 too nervous. I was just hoping I would make the first one so it would make me less nervous for the second one.鈥

On a night when Fort Madison got contributions from Dayonna Davis and freshman Reilynn Turnbull off the bench, Bentley was nearly at a loss for words after the gritty, gutsy performance by his team.

鈥淚t feels amazing. I鈥檇 be lying if I said there wasn鈥檛 some pressure on here tonight,鈥 said Bentley, a Fort Madison graduate. 鈥淚鈥檓 super excited that the girls pulled this one out. We鈥檝e got some senior leaders who are going to continue to have a great season. They work hard. They buy into what we talk about. They work their tails off. They don鈥檛 care if we鈥檙e down or we鈥檙e up. They鈥檙e going to work.鈥

Ottumwa, behind the 3-point shooting of Camdyn Crouse 鈥 she hit 4 treys in her game-high 17-point effort 鈥 opened a six-point lead in the third quarter and had a 29-25 lead after a free throw by Hunter Caldwell early in the fourth quarter.

Fort Madison澳门开奖 senior leaders refused to let the Bloodhounds lose.

Taylor Johnson was a beast on the boards. She had a putback and an offensive board that led to a pair of free throws to knot the game at 29.

鈥淭here澳门开奖 a reason she澳门开奖 in that starting lineup and it澳门开奖 not because of her scoring,鈥 Bentley said of Johnson. 鈥淚t doesn鈥檛 have to be. She澳门开奖 willing to guard anyone I ask her to. She澳门开奖 going to box out and rebound against anybody. It doesn鈥檛 matter if she is undersized over oversized. She澳门开奖 going to go get it. She澳门开奖 going to give that extra effort. She澳门开奖 going to get up and down the floor and play hard.鈥

Jenkins, who missed six of her first seven 3-point shots on the night, nailed back-to-back treys midway through the fourth quarter.

鈥淚 had to. There was no other choice,鈥 said Jenkins, who scored a team-high 12 points. 鈥淚 felt like we needed those. I was off all game and I think that was just a way for me to come back.鈥

And Irelynd Sargent, who missed the final 12 games of her junior season with a torn ACL, came back to not only knock down two shots, but play lock-down defense on Crouse, who was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

鈥淭he senior leaders. Aija makes shots, Irelynd澳门开奖 defense and Taylor with her rebounding,鈥 Menke said.

鈥淚relynd Sargent is like a floor general out there. It澳门开奖 like having another assistant coach with me on the floor,鈥 Bentley said. 鈥淭hese freshmen on this team are lucky to have these seniors who have that confidence. Just how they play and their intelligence. It澳门开奖 not all about skill. It澳门开奖 not all about athleticism. Sometimes it澳门开奖 about having that downright, 鈥業 believe in myself.鈥 That澳门开奖 what won this game tonight.鈥



Molly Schulte scored eight points and Maleena Bentley and Charley Huebner each scored four points, but the Bloodhounds came up short in the season opener at the Hound Dome.