By ANDY HEINTZ
Courier Sports Writer
OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Bulldogs used a tremendous third quarter and a solid inside-outside attack to rout CIML Metro opponent Des Moines Lincoln 53-37 Friday at Evans Middle School gymnasium.
“The third quarter we decided to play on both ends of the floor,” Ottumwa girls coach Kevin Patterson said. “In the first half we did well on defense, but we finished not as well as we could on offense. In the third quarter we stretched the lead to 20 because we were doing it on both ends of the floor. We need to understand that against teams that we should beat we have to do it on both ends of the floor.”
Rachel Zingg spearheaded Ottumwa’s balanced scoring attack with 12 points. In addition, Hayli Beeson, Jami Nickerson and Megan Black all scored eight and Devin Leffler tossed in seven.
Leffler gave the Bulldogs a lift with five points in the late stages of the first quarter. First, the Bulldog forward buried a jumper from the right side of the foul line.
Then, minutes later, Leffler scored inside off a nice feed from Beeson while drawing contact.
She sank the free-throw to compete the 3-point play.
Beeson drilled a 3-pointer early in the second quarter to give Ottumwa a 14-11 lead. Moments later, Megan Black snaked her way through and around the Rail defense before converting on a layup.
The Bulldogs were unremitting in their determination to get the ball inside in the first half, as they consistently pounded it inside to Zingg, Leffler and Hite. The strategy induced average results and the Bulldogs’ led 23-16 at halftime after Beeson drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Ottumwa really started to reap their just desserts for their unwavering committment to get the ball inside in the third. The girls’ expertly placed passes to Zingg and Hite on fast breaks and within the regular flow of the offense produced optimal results. Inside buckets by the duo coupled with a pair of 3-pointers by Jami Nickerson helped Ottumwa expand its lead prodigiously to 43-23 by the end of the quarter.