The Ottumwa girls basketball team got trounced by a strong Ankeny squad 70-13 Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
The game started relatively well for Ottumwa; the Bulldogs were able to find their post players inside for a couple of buckets. But things went downhill for the girls in the second quarter, as the Hawks — last year’s state runner-up — blanked Ottumwa 25-0.
“I think we just have to run our offense and keep our turnovers low and play good defense,” Ottumwa’s Rachel Zingg said when asked how her team could better weather rallies by their opponents.
Ankeny’s offensive assault was fueled by excellent ball movement, lights-out shooting and Bulldog turnovers. Ottumwa struggled mightily to handle the Hawks’ full-court press in the second quarter: Ankeny turned several of Ottumwa’s turnovers into easy transition buckets.
“We’ve got some physical things to work on, but right now a lot of its mental and not letting the defense speed us up and make us play faster than we need to,” Ottumwa coach Kevin Patterson said.
Alexis Winn provided the bulk of Ottumwa’s offense in the first half; she finished with a team-high six points. She buried a short jumper from the right baseline that tied the contest at 2-2 in the game’s opening minutes. Later in first quarter, Winn flashed open in the middle of the lane and nailed a baby hook shot off the glass. Zingg added to Ottumwa’s offensive output by drilling a turnaround jumper inside in the first quarter.
“We just try to get it inside as much as we can because they are closer to the basket,” Zingg said.
Unfortunately, Ottumwa’s inside game was rendered non-existent in the second quarter because of Ottumwa’s turnover woes. Coach Patterson said he has offense designed to break the full court press; but when the press is broken and the girls have crossed the halfcourt line, they are supposed to run their halfcourt offense. Patterson, however, said the girls were not always sticking with this strategy.
“When we break pressure then we go and take a bad shot; and when we don’t break the press it turns into a easy layup for the other team,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Hawks were getting points from an array of sources. Gabby Helmbrecht and Tasha Vipond, who had 12 points each, scored from the outside and inside the lane. In addition, Ankeny’s Jaali Winters used her size advantage to score inside and Mary Brandt, who led Ankeny with 14 points, complemented the Hawks’ inside attack with four 3-pointers. Madi Robson also stimulated Ankeny’s offense by slashing to the bucket for several easy layups.
Winn ended Ottumwa’s scoring drought in the third quarter with a pair of free throws. Unfortunately, she was knocked to the floor after a inadvertent collision with a teammate a few minutes later and grasped her knee in obvious pain. Winn was helped off the court and would not return.
Senior Sydney Strunk scored Ottumwa’s first non-free throw related basket in the fourth quarter and Devin Leffler soon followed her with an easy bucket in the paint.
It won’t get any easier for Ottumwa (0-3), as the Bulldogs play at top-ranked Southeast Polk (5A) Friday.
“We’re going to keep practicing harder,” Leffler.
Patterson said handling pressure better will be the number one problem his team will be focused on correcting in practice.
“We’re just going to keep doing it and doing it and doing it until we get better at it,” Patterson said.
Ankeny 70, Ottumwa 13
Ank 13 25 16 16 — 70
Ott 6 0 2 5 — 13
ANK (70) — Mary Brandt 14, Madi Robson 8, Gabby Helmbrecht 12, Jaali Winters 10, Brittany Hedrick 6, Tasha Vipond 12, Allison Schaaf 6. Totals — 25-42 4-10 70.
3-point goals — 4 (Mary Brandt 4).
OTT (13) — Sydney Strunk 2, Alexis Winn 6, Devin Leffler 2, Rachel Zingg 2, Olivia Roark 1. Totals - 5-27 3-4 13.
3-point goals — None. Rebounds — 15 (Beeson 5, Black 4, Roark 4). Assists — 5 (Hayli Beeson 3, Megan Black 2). Steals — 1 (Strunk). Blocks — 1 (Black).