Courier sports staff
Time and Place: The Ottumwa girls team plays West Des Moines Valley at 6:15 p.m tonight at Evans Middle School in Ottumwa. The boys game against the Tigers will follow the girls at about 7:45 p.m.
Records: The Ottumwa girls are 2-9 overall and 1-3 in CIML Metro Conference play. West Des Moines Valley is 9-3. The Ottumwa boys are 1-8 overall and 1-3 in the CIML Metro Conference and the Tigers are 8-3.
Finishing on offense: Ottumwa girls coach Kevin Patterson has stressed the importance of finishing high-percentage shots to his team, which has been a problem for the Bulldogs at times. The girls can’t afford to miss any bunnies tonight when they try to exact a measure of revenge on a Tiger team that handed them a 72-45 loss last season.
Getting the ball to Burns: Carter Burns, with his soft touch and impressive inside-outside game, has been the centerpiece of the Bulldog offense. Ottumwa’s big man must play well for Ottumwa to have a chance to upset the Tigers. Ottumwa came out on the wrong end of a 69-44 defeat when it faced the Tigers in Des Moines last season.
Roark elevates her game: Olivia Roark raised her level of play to a whole new level last game, scoring a season-high 19 points against Des Moines Roosevelt. The Bulldogs, however, will need to get more production on offense from its other players to get a win against the Tigers.
Avoid scoring droughts: The boys must avoid getting into scoring droughts like the one it suffered through in the first half of its loss to Des Moines Roosevelt. The boys have the ability to compete with upper-echelon teams as long as they can maintain a high level of play through all four quarters.
Coach Patterson says: “We missed nine shots from inside 10 feet [against Roosevelt] so we’re just struggling finishing in close,” Patterson said. “We really have to finish.”
Coach Gravett says: “We got to the free-throw line in the second half because we were more aggressive,” Gravett said about his team after its game against Roosevelt. The Bulldogs will need to bring that same level of aggresion to tonight’s game.