Courier sports writer
---- — OTTUMWA — Megan Black flashed into lane in the second quarter, received a pass and calmly drained a shot below the free-throw line to give the Ottumwa girls' team a 7-4 lead over Ankeny Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
While it seemed like a minor event at the time, the bucket catalyzed a huge Ottumwa run. The Bulldogs ran off 16 unanswered points to open a 21-4 lead.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter. The story was a much different one.
Kelsey Yarrow, who carried Ankeny's offense on her skinny shoulders with a game-high 22 points, drove to the hoop and scored while drawing a foul with 5:08 left in the fourth quarter. She sank the free throw, after which the the scoreboard read 37-35 — Ankeny.
The huge comeback lifted the Hawkettes to a lead they would never relinquish, as they went on to win 48-46.
"Obviously we're making mental mistakes, we're fouling them too much," Ottumwa coach Kevin Patterson said. "We're not making our foul shots. We're not mentally ready."
Beeson led Ottumwa with 12 points, all on 3-pointers including two in the final minute. Megan Black added 10.
Devin Leffler and Rachel Zingg each scored eight points apiece for the Bulldogs.
During Ottumwa's first-half run, points were common currency. Ottumwa's offense was fueled by a successful mix of 3-pointers by Hayli Beeson, driving hoops by Black and moves in the post by Rachel Zingg. The Hawkettes successfully weathered the storm and, with Yarrow leading the way, fought and clawed their way back into the game.
It didn't help that the girls were once again beset by free-throw shooting problems. After a 7-28 performance cost the Bulldogs in a 49-43 loss at Fairfield to open the season last week, the Bulldogs went only 6-20 from the foul line against the Hawkettes.
Ottumwa (0-2) plays Washington Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
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