OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa boys basketball team struggled in a painful 70-44 loss to Des Moines Roosevelt Tuesday at Evans Middle School gymnasium.
"It's the same way it's been all year," Ottumwa boys Kevin Kanaskie said. "We don't rebound, we don't play together and we don't take care of the ball. So when you don't do those things, you really have no chance. Roosevelt is good, they're athletic, they're well-coached. We got beat tonight pretty good."
Carter Burns spearheaded the Bulldog offense with a team-high 12 points and Gage Ryder added nine.
The Bulldogs got off to a decent start and only trailed 18-15 at the end of the first quarter. Ottumwa, however, struggled to get into any sort of rhythm offensively for the rest of the night. By halftime, the Roughriders' lead had grown to 35-24.
Roosevelt ticked off nine unanswered points in the third before a Burns' 3-pointer ended Ottumwa's scoring drought. The Roughriders' lead had ballooned to 51-28 by the end of the third.
Because of Roosevelt's size advantage, Ottumwa's offense struggled to generate many open looks inside. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs didn't connect on many of their outside shots.
"Their size definitely bothered us," Kanaskie said, "and sometimes we got good shots and didn't make them and sometimes we just rushed it and took bad shots. Give a lot of credit to Roosevelt, their defense really bothered us."
Ryder said his team's future success will depend on if they can maintain a high level of play for an entire game.
"We need to play a solid four quarters," he said, "not just a first half. We need to keep going through the whole game. That's how we will be successful for the rest of the season."