OTTUMWA — After a first half that featured missed shots from close range, Ottumwa coach Kevin Patterson felt impelled to direct a challenge at Ottumwa post player Carrissa Hite.
Hite, Patterson felt, did not perform up to her skill level in the half and he let her know she could do better. The result? a reinvigorated Hite put together her best half of the season: She finished with a team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds.
But, alas, the Ottumwa forward's stupendous performance wasn't enough to garner Ottumwa a victory, as the Bulldogs fell to Washington in a heartbreaker 48-47 Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
Still, Patterson had ample praise for the venerable way his forward responded to his challenge.
"She [Hite] struggled from the field in the first half, he said, "and at halftime I really challenged her to play up to her potential and that's the best I've ever seen a post player respond from being challenged at halftime. She's totally capable of that game in and game out. She's got a lot of length, and when she believes in her moves, it's very hard for the defense to stop her. I thought it was really good that she saw mismatches — they were short, so she took it at them."
"I've got the mentality that my coach believes in me, so I know I have get that way, too," Hite added. "In the second half I knew I really needed to finish and go with confidence. That's been a struggle for me lately, my last two games have been kind of rocky, so I knew I was due for a good game and I showed it.
"Every shot is not going to go in. After my first bad shots, I started getting on my roll."