After last week’s 48-38 home loss to Stoutland, the Fordland varsity girls’ basketball team’s record stood at 3-10,
Eagles’ coach Kevin McDaris said.
The defeat on Monday, Jan. 6, followed a Saturday, Jan. 4, road loss at Weaubleau in a game the Eagles dropped 72-51.
The previous week, Fordland had a one-win, two-loss effort at the Walnut Grove Holiday Classic, where the Eagles defeated Greenfield 52-41 in the first round on Dec. 21, then fell 57-28 to state-ranked host Walnut Grove on Dec. 23, which was followed by a defeat on Dec. 27 to state-ranked Hartville 66-34.
“It’s not been an easy stretch of games for us as we’ve played a lot of very good opponents,” McDaris said.
“In all of these games, I felt our effort was there.”
He said the most-recent contest against Stoutland was a game the Eagles had a chance to win.
Fordland narrowly trailed most of the game as Stoutland led 15-13 after one quarter, 26-23 at halftime and 34-32 after three frames.
“It was a back-and-forth game,” McDaris noted. “We had a lead at one time in all four quarters. But they got to us on the inside in the fourth quarter, and that was the difference.”
He said the Eagles had a chance to win.
“Ultimately, what hurt us was our lack of depth on the inside,” he explained. “We played without Kenzie Branson, who is a starter, a post player and our third-leading scorer.”
Senior Abi Southard, a 5’5” guard, led the Eagles with 24 points. She also had 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Junior Gracie Trotter added 8 points.
With 3 points, 12 rebounds and 3 steals was 5’6” junior Mahalia Burks.
Freshmen Katlyn Fries, McKenzie Suter and Mikah Suter each scored 1 point.
Mikah Suter added 7 rebounds, while junior guard Kayleena Lucas had 2 assists.
In action at Weaubleau on Jan. 4, Fordland fell behind early and never led in a 72-51 loss.
Weaubleau led 21-5 after the first quarter.
“We didn’t have a very good start at all,” McDaris said.
“But we won the second quarter and cut the lead to 12 points by halftime. In the third quarter, we got as close as eight, but they had a big run to end the quarter.”
The Eagles trailed 53-35 entering the final frame.
“I was pretty pleased overall with how we played,” he said. “Weaubleau is a very good team. Before we played them, they had won their own Christmas tourney.”
Southard’s 24 points led the team.
Trotter scored 10, while Lucas had 9 points.
Burks added 5. Mikah Suter rounded out the scoring with 3 points.
Southard, Mikah Suter and Trotter each had 4 rebounds.
Burks led the Eagles with 4 assists.
On a positive note, McDaris said the Eagles hit 9 of 19 three-point shots (47 percent) in the game.
In the 16-team tourney at Walnut Grove, Fordland earned the No. 7 seed and defeated No. 10 Greenfield by a 52-41 count in the first round.
The Eagles trailed 21-11 after the first quarter and 29-24 at halftime.
Fordland led 38-37 entering the final frame.
“We had two comebacks in the first half,” McDaris noted.
“We were down by 10 (points) both times. This probably was our best all-around game this season.”
Southard again paced the Eagles’ offense with 26 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the field.
Adding 18 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists was Branson, a 5’8” senior, who hit 7 of 11 shots from the field.
Burks had 8 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists.
Trotter led the team with 3 steals.
Two days later in Dec. 23 second-round action, Walnut Grove handed Fordland a 57-28 defeat.
The Eagles trailed 13-8 after one frame, 30-11 at the half and 46-17 after three quarters.
“They are state ranked, second in Class 1,” McDaris said.
“And we played really well in the first quarter.
“It was a close game until the final three minutes of the second quarter.”
Southard was Fordland’s leading scorer with 13 points.
Mikah Suter added 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Branson scored 3 and grabbed 7 rebounds.
With 2 points and 5 rebounds was Burks.
“Mikah (Suter) played really well in this game,” McDaris noted. “It was her first game in double figures.”
In the winners’ consolation round on Dec. 27, Fordland drew Hartville, ranked No. 6 statewide in Class 2, and fell by a 66-34 count.
The game was tied at 9-9 after one frame.
Hartville only led 25-20 at the half.
“In the third quarter, they came out and turned up the pressure defensively,” McDaris said. “We led for a majority of the first quarter and held the lead for much of the second quarter.
“We played really well in the first half. Turnovers just hurt us in the second half, especially the third quarter.”
After three frames, Hartville led 49-23 after outscoring Fordland 24-3.
Southard had a team-high 15 points, while Burks chipped in 13 points.
Mikah Suter had 4 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Branson added 2 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals.
Lucas had 3 steals.
Next action for the Eagles arrives this Thursday when they play host to the Norwood Pirates for a Summit Conference contest.
Fordland is winless in conference play this season.
Game time is 6 p.m.