It’s amazing how much better our offense is when we make some shots, Ottumwa girls basketball coach Kevin Patterson said minutes after his team picked up its first win of the season Friday night at Evans Middle School.
The Bulldogs opened up an early lead on Des Moines Lincoln and staved off a late Railsplitter rally on their way to a 45-39 victory over their CIML Metro Conference foe
“We shot the ball with confidence,” Patterson said.
Indeed they did. Hayli Beeson provided the initial spark for the Bulldogs, as she scored eight of Ottumwa’s 14 points in the first quarter, including drilling two 3-pointers.
“I was feeling pretty good tonight,” Beeson said. “It feels great to get that first win.”
Aside from helping Ottumwa jump out to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter, Beeson also nailed a closely guarded 3-pointer in the final seconds of the third quarter, which gave Ottumwa a 35-27 lead.
After battling some turnover problems early, Olivia Roark, who led Ottumwa with 14 points, buried six straight free throws in the final quarter to help her team secure the victory.
The Railsplitters mounted a rally in the game’s final minutes that made the girls earn every bit of their first win. It looked like Ottumwa was on its way to an easy victory after a fast break layup by Roark upped Ottumwa’s lead to 39-31 in the fourth quarter. But the Railsplitters fought their way back into it in the final minutes.
They managed to cut Ottumwa’s lead to 41-39 after Lincoln’s Shelby Reeves buried a 3-pointer with a little over 40 seconds left. But Roark knocked down a couple of free throws down the stretch and Ottumwa picked up the victory.
Patterson said his four starting guards — Megan Black, Beeson, Roark and Sydney Strunk — all thrived in the areas where they are strong: Strunk handled the ball, Black and Beeson aggressively attacked the basket and Beeson knocked down her jumpers.
“Our offense is exponentially better when those four fill their roles,” he said.
Ottumwa (1-4) plays Fort Madison today at Evans Middle School.
Ottumwa 45, Des Moines Lincoln 39
Lincoln 7 8 12 12 — 39
Ottumwa 14 10 11 10 — 45
DM Lincoln (39) — Nyador Gatluak 13, Lynzie Miller 9, Ashley Methfessel 9, Sa’Lisa Berry 1, Shelby Reeves 7. Totals 10 FG 11-19FT 39.
3-point goals — 1 (Shelby Reeves). Fouled out — Gatluak. Rebounds — 22 (10). Assists — 1 (Methfessel). Total fouls — 23. Turnovers — 12.
Ottumwa (45) — Olivia Roark 14, Hayli Beeson 13, Megan Black 9, Devin Leffler 6, Alexis Winn 1, Sydney Strunk. Totals 14-26FG.
3-point goals — 3 (Beeson 3). Rebounds — 18 (Black 11). Assists — 2 (Roark, Black). Steals — 8 (Strunk 3). Blocks — None. Total Fouls — 15 Turnovers — 18.