Courier sports staff
---- — CEDAR RAPIDS — If you’re going to upset a top-ten team on their home floor, you’d better get off to a great start.
That’s something that did not happen for the visiting Ottumwa boys basketball team at third-ranked (3A) Cedar Rapids Xavier on Tuesday night. The Saints shot well from the field all night, staying over 50 percent from the field through three quarters on the way to opening an 18-2 lead after one, a 38-17 lead after the half and a 61-36 lead thru three before settling on a 71-48 victory over the Bulldogs.
“We knew it was going to be tough. We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Ottumwa boys basketball Kurt Kasnaskie. “We just can’t start a game scoring just two points. We put ourselves in too big of a hole to dig out of.”
As a team, Xavier started the night hitting eight of its first 12 shots from the field while OHS managed just one basket in the opening quarter. The Saints used a 9-2 edge on the glass to limit the opportunities for the Bulldogs.
Ottumwa regained its shooting form in the second quarter with 15 points in the final eight minutes of the first half, but Xavier countered with 20 points and opened a 24-point lead before a half-court buzzer beater by Sam Moreland pulled Ottumwa within 38-17 at halftime.
Adam McDermott kept the Bulldogs at bay, leading No. 3 (3A) Xavier (3-0) with 13 of his game high 21 points in the first half as the Saints shot 59 percent (16-27) from the field. Another big third quarter in which Xavier scored 23 points all but sealed the win.
Carter Burns led Ottumwa with 18 points, battling his way through foul trouble in the second half. Moreland added 10, including the heave from beyond half court to end the first half, while Aaron Roane drilled a pair of 3-pointers in the second half to finish with six points.
Ottumwa (0-2) will hit the road to open CIML Metro Conference play on Friday at the Lincoln Roundhouse against Des Moines Lincoln. The game will be the nightcap of a girls/boys opening Metro doubleheader that will start at 6:15 p.m.
“We need to come out with a lot more energy. We just didn’t come out with the type of energy we needed on the road (on Tuesday),” Kanaskie said. “I will correct that, but it doesn’t get any easier. Lincoln’s got one of the top scorers in the conference, but to get that first win on the road in conference play would be huge for us.”