OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa girls basketball team used an admixture of swarming defense, fast-break buckets and unselfish offensive play to rout Des Moines North 76-20 Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
The Bulldogs balanced scoring attack is illuminated by the final stats. Devin Leffler and Megan Black shepherded Ottumwa's offense with 12 points each, Rachel Zingg added 11 and Hayli Beeson scored 10. In addition, Carrissa Hite and Averi Blackeach tossed in eight points.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 27-3 lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back. The girls' suffocating press defense overwhelmed an outmatched Polar Bear offense that suffered from a surplus of turnovers. Many of these turnovers were converted into easy Ottumwa layups.
"Basically just to start hard," Black said when asked about her team's strategy before the game, "because we normally start slow. We just had to start fast, play our game, and don't worry about what they are doing."
The girls showed off acute passing skills throughout the first half, as the Bulldogs continued to find the open player for good looks near the basket. In addition, Rachel Zingg and Carrissa Hite were both able to score with nice post moves inside the lane.
Black made two quick buckets at the genesis of the second half and Beeson buried a 3-pointer from the left baseline. Later, Devin Leffler got in on the act with some slick post moves in the paint.
"A sign of a team that's improving is to show that regardless of the scoring line, you're trying to get better," Patterson said, "and I think we did that more in the second half and I was happy to see that. It was easily the best we've came out at halftime. We were ready to execute what we were trying to do and we got the ball inside to our post players."
Speaking of his post players, Patterson was said he was happy to see all three girls — Zingg, Leffler and Hite — put up solid offensive numbers on the same night; a pleasant development that hadn't happened heretofore the game.
Ottumwa (2-7) plays Friday at Waukee.
To follow Andy Heintz's Twitter feed, go to @heintz23