By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier sports writer
---- — OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa girls' basketball team will try to exorcise some inner demons in its season-opener at Fairfield today.
The Bulldogs take on a Trojan team that knocked them off in Ottumwa's home-opener last season 48-31.
"We shot a bad percentage and we had too many turnovers,"Ottumwa coach Kevin Patterson said about last year's game. "First, it starts with not turning the ball over. We need to cherish every possession — at least get a good shot on every possession."
The second and third quarter between the two teams were extremely competitive, but Fairfield dominated the first quarter 10-3 and the fourth quarter 21-12. While Ottumwa will not have to contend with then-senior Sidney Baumann, who led the Trojans with 17 points against the Bulldogs, they will have to deal with junior Hanna Greiner and Marisa Rep. Greiner, who both played key roles in the Trojans' victory last season: Greiner recorded 12 points and Rep posted 9.
Meanwhile, Megan Black led the Bulldogs with 9 points and Devin Leffler corralled eight rebounds, six of them defensive. Black also served as the Bulldogs' bellwether leader defensively with four steals and Ottumwa's sole block of the evening.
Senior Black will ignite the Bulldog offense from the point guard position. She ranked second on the Bulldogs in assists, trailing only Olivia Roark, with about five assists a game. In addition, she was at the vanguard of Ottumwa's defensive success with a team-best 13 blocks and 28 steals — which ranked second behind Black. Meanwhile, senior Hayli Beeson often sparked the Bulldog offense by knocking down a 3-pointer — she finished with 20 three pointers on the season.
Patterson said Ottumwa will look to get the ball to their inside players — Rachel Zingg, Leffler and Carrissa Hite — more this season.
"We tried to get it inside last year, but we didn't do a good job of it," Patterson said, "It opens up our guards for shots and it it opens up our driving lanes, too."
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