OTTUMWA — The unforgiving cold that's descended on the Midwest this week forced the Ottumwa Bulldog girls' and boys' basketball games against Keokuk Monday night to be canceled.
Now both teams must turn right around and play CIML Metro Conference opponent Des Moines North tonight at Evans Middle School in two distinctively different games. The girls face a Polar Bear squad that has yet to garner a victory in 10 attempts, while the Bulldog boys face a talented North squad that boasts a perfect 7-0 record. The girls' game starts at 6:15 p.m. and the boys' start at 7:45 p.m.
Both Ottumwa teams enter the contest after they sustained 12-point defeats at Des Moines East last Friday. Although their defeats came by the exact same margin — the girls lost 54-42 and the boys 67-55 — the girls had more positives to glean from their game than the boys.
Indeed, the Bulldog girls put forth an inspired second-half effort that included a big fourth-quarter rally that shaved the deficit to single digits at one point and a third quarter where Ottumwa's stifling defense only surrendered five points to the fifth-ranked Scarlets.
Hayli Beeson had a superb night, knocking down five-of-seven 3-pointers on her way to scoring a team-high 17 points and Rachel Zingg tossed in 9 points of her.
"I think it shows we have glimpses of being a good team," Ottumwa coach Kevin Patterson said, "and more consistency is needed to beat a team on a high level."
Ottumwa manhandled Des Moines North in both their meetings last winter, trouncing the Polar Bears 57-9 and 69-14. Patterson, however, wants to make sure his team is not overconfident.
"You have to really focus on yourself and not play to the level of your competition whether it's good or bad," Patterson said. "We have to focus on what we need to do and not focus so much on what other teams need to do."
Meanwhile, the boys fell to a Scarlet team that heretofore hadn't won a game. Carter Burns supplied Ottumwa with much of its offense, as he led the Bulldogs with 24 points and corralled an eye-opening 16 rebounds. Unfortunately, Burns didn't get much support from his teammates — Brok Hopwood was the second-leading point man with 8 points.
"We started the game with no confidence and didn't play very hard," Ottumwa boys' coach Kevin Kanaskie said. "When you don't have confidence and don't play hard you're not going to win any games."
Now, the boys will have to contend with a hyper-talented Polar Bears' squad. Teyontae Jenkins spearheads North's offensive machine with 25 points a game and also catalyzes the Polar Bear offense with a team-best 43 assists. In addition, Jenkins shoots a team-best 53 percent from the field. North's offensive firepower also is bolstered by Terrance Busch, who averages 22 points and almost 10 rebounds a game.
"They have two really good guards," Kanaskie said. "They are the best backcourt in the state. We're going to try and make the other guys beat us."
The coach said North tries to induce panic in its teams with three or four different presses and a half-court trap.
"We just have to make strong plays and slow down and not turn it over," Kanaskie said.
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Ottumwa boys basketball
Ottumwa 67, Des Moines East 55
Ottu 8 9 5 20 — 55
East 16 19 5 14 — 67
Ottumwa (55) — Carter Burns 24, Brok Hopwood 8, Andrew Altfillisch 6, Sam Moreland 5, Curtis Schneckloth 5, Aaron Roane 4, Gage Ryder 3. Totals 18-43 FG 1-2 FT 55.
3-point goals — 5-16 (Burns 2, Hopwood 2). Rebounds — 27 (Burns 16). Assists — 13 (Altfillisch 8). Steals — 3 (Sam Moreland, Hopwood, Schneckloth). Blocks — 6 (Burns 6).
East (67) — Malique Ziegler 22, William Jackson 16, Jonathon Harrington 14, Colby Carmichael 8, Jaylin James 2, Calvin Theppanya 2, Ted Kofoed 2, Jay Williams.
3-point goals — 2-12 (Ziegler, Carmichael). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — 33 (Ziegler 7). Assists — 8 (Ziegler 3). Steals — 11 (Jackson 5). Blocks — 3 (Ziegler 2). Total fouls — 18.
Ottumwa girls' basketball
Des Moines East 54, Ottumwa 42
Ottu 8 9 5 20 — 42
East 16 19 5 14 — 54
Ottumwa (42) — Hayli Beeson 17, Rachel Zingg 9, Devin Leffler 6, Jami Nickerson 4, Dani Reed 4, Carrissa Hite 2.Totals 14-37 FG 8-18 FT 42.
3-point goals — 6-11 (Beeson 5). Fouled out —None. Rebounds — 27 (Zingg 4, Leffler 4, Megan Black 4). Assists — 12 (Nickerson 3, Beeson 3, Black 3). Steals — 4 (Kristi Cary, Zingg, Black, Hite). Blocks — 3 (Beeson, Zingg, Black). Total fouls — 19.
East (54) — Dariann Garrison-Nickerson 14, Roichelle Marble 12, Tal Neilly 11, Renise Collier 8, Arrica Daye 6, Keesha Gaines 2, Paige Larson 1. Totals 17-46 FG 16-27 FT 67.3-point goals — 4-9 (Neilly 3). Fouled out — Garrison-Nickerson. Rebounds — 29 (Collier 13). Assists — 10 (Marble 5). Steals — 14 (Marble 4). Total fouls — 19.