Courier sports writer
---- — OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa boys basketball team did everything but pull out a victory in its season opener Tuesday at Evans Middle School, falling to Ankeny 76-72 in a back-and-forth contest that remained in doubt in the final minute.
Andrew Altfillisch snaked through the lane and finished a drive amongst the trees in the lane to put Ottumwa in front 69-65 with just over two minutes left in the game. Ankeny, however, stymied Ottumwa's momentum when the Hawks' Vince Walker buried a 3-pointer that narrowed the gap to 69-68.
Later, Walker sank a pair of free throws that tied the game at 70 with 1:30 left.
Conor Riordan scored off a rebound with 45.7 seconds left to give Ankeny a 72-70 lead. Ottumwa's Carter Burns answered by driving hard to the hoop and drawing a foul. He sank both his free throws to make it 72-72.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Skylar Scott scored scored off a rebound to reclaim the lead for the Hawks 74-72. Seconds later, Ottumwa turned it over near half-court which led to an Ankeny basket to secure the win for the Hawks.
"I think the guys competed," Ottumwa coach Kevin Kanaskie said. "We just didn't make enough plays at the end."
The Bulldog offense featured a balanced attack with four players scoring in double figures. Andrew Altfillisch spearheaded the Bulldog attack with 17 points, Brok Hopwood added 14 and drilled four 3-pointers and Curtis Schneckloth and Carter Burns each scored 13.
"The flow of the offense gets a lot of people shots and we've been making them this year," Burns said.
Ottumwa (0-1) is off until next week when the Bulldogs play next Tuesday night at Cedar Rapids Xavier. Tip time is approximately 7:30 p.m.
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