By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier Sports Writer
---- — OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa girls' basketball team has made a lot of strides in the early part of its season despite its 1-6 record.
Ottumwa point guard Megan Black leads the girls in a slew of categories including points per game (8.6), assists (25), steals (15), and blocks (6). The senior point guard also is a scrappy rebounder, collecting about five rebounds per game.
Black commenced her season by scoring a team-high 12 points, dishing out three assists and coming up with four steals in Ottumwa's season-opening 49-43 loss at Fairfield. And, in the Bulldogs' 51-41 loss to Indianola on the cusp of Christmas Break, Black poured in a team-high 12 points and swatted four shots.
After a rocky start against Fairfield, Hayli Beeson has assumed the role of Ottumwa's go-to 3-pointer shooter. The senior guard scored a team-high 12 points and drilled four 3-pointers in a 48-46 loss to Ankeny and she has continued to spark Ottumwa's offense with key 3-pointers throughout the season.
Ottumwa's post players Carrissa Hite, Rachel Zingg and Devin Leffler have continued make gains offensively. Hite, in particularly, has really evolved on offense since the start of the season. The junior post player poured in a team-high 15 points and corralled 11 boards in a heartbreaking 48-47 loss to Washington and she tossed in a season-high 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Ottumwa's 55-42 win over Des Moines Lincoln.
Though Zingg hasn't put up similar numbers in an individual game, she's been a more consistent than her teammate on a game-to-game basis. The sophomore started her season on a positive note by compiling 10 points and pulling down 8 rebounds against Faifield. While the Zingg forward hasn't scored in double figures since Ottumwa's season-opener, she has come close on several occasions and she continues to be one of Ottumwa's most effective rebounders.
Meanwhile, Leffler boasts Ottumwa's highest shooting percentage at about 58 percent. The pinnacle of Leffler's season came when she scored a game-high 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a 50-40 loss to Des Moines Hoover.
Ottumwa junior Jami Nickerson drilled three 3-pointers and scored a season-high 13 points against Lincoln and Kristi Cary compiled eight points and came up with four steals in Ottumwa's close loss to Washington. Dani Reed and senior Averi Cash also have put in some solid minutes for Ottumwa.
Ottumwa plays at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Des Moines East.
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