The Ottumwa Courier

March 1, 2013

Roark and Burns named to all-conference teams

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa sophomore Carter Burns  and Olivia Roark were both named to the CIML Metro All-Conference second team.

Seniors Austin Walker and Sydney Strunk and junior Megan Black received honorable mention status.

Burns, Ottumwa’s 6-6 star big man, led Ottumwa in nearly every category. The sophomore led Ottumwa in scoring with about 16 points per game and grabbed a team-high 7.5 rebounds a game. Burns tossed in a team-best 25 3-pointers while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. Burns sank 67 free throws — 24 more than anyone else on the team — and shot almost 80 percent from the charity stripe. He led the team in blocks (16), assists (25) and rebounds (7.5) and ranked second in steals (14).

“The sky is the limit for this kid,” former Ottumwa coach Chris Gravett said. “He can be one of the best players Ottumwa has ever seen if he continues to work. I think he’s got the raw end of the deal; he should have been first team all-conference.”

Aside from his usual impressive outings, Burns had a couple of monster performances this season. He capped off his year by dropping a season-high 33 points, including six 3-pointers; on Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the regional quarterfinals of the Class 4A Substate Tournament.

“He was the best player on the floor, it wasn’t even close,” Gravett said.

He also played a vital role in Ottumwa’s only two wins of the year.  Burns poured in 31 points and drilled four 3-pointers in Ottumwa’s 63-61 double-overtime victory over Des Moines East and pumped in 20 points in the Bulldogs 70-67 triumph over Fairfield on Senior Night.

Burns style of play provided a nightmarish scenario for opposing defenses. He has solid post moves, he knocks down jumpers from anywhere on the floor and he can score off rebounds. Burns also can handle the ball pretty well for a big man and his shot blocking ability provided a strong deterrent to players who were brave enough to venture down the lane.  

Austin Walker recorded a team-best 20 steals and averaged 10 points a game for the Bulldogs.

“He’s one of those guys that if a coach tells him he needs to work on this he’s going to work on that,” Gravett said. “He’s really developed his game on learning to play a little bit inside and outside.”

He ranked second on the squad in assists (21), in rebounds (4.8) and 3-pointers (22).

Walker, who will continue his season at William Penn, who is ranked No. 1 in NAIA Division II, can score inside and outside the block. He also has a keen sense of timing when it comes to picking off passes. Gravett said Walker was really good at spotting the tendencies of opposing offenses.

Walker had tremendous outings in Ottumwa’s two victories. He scored 19 points in Ottumwa’s win over Fairfield and he tossed in 13 points in the Bulldogs victory over Des Moines East.  

Roark led Ottumwa with 7.6 points a game and recorded a team-best 49 steals, 17 better than anyone else on the team.

“She’s are best on-ball defender and our most consistent offensive player,” Ottumwa coach Kevin Patterson said. “She’s definitely our most aggressive offensive player as well.”

The gutsy senior guard drilled 56 3-pointers, 30 more than any other Bulldog, while also dishing out a team-high 34 assists. At 64.4 percent, Roark boasts the highest free-throw percentage on the team among Bulldog players who saw serious playing time on a consistent basis.

Roark played the starring role in what ranked as one of, if not the most exciting moment of the season. The Bulldogs had possession of the ball with 12 seconds to go. In less than a minute, they had managed to whittle Fort Madison’s 30-22 lead to 30-27. Roark, who had knocked down her first 3-pointer of the game less than a minute earlier, found herself open behind the 3-point line after a solid pick set by Averi Cash had floored her defender. She calmly drained the shot to send the game into overtime. Ottumwa went on to win 32-31 in overtime and Roark finished with a team-high 15 points.

Roark poured in 19 points and drilled four 3-pointers in a loss to Des Moines Roosevelt and she buried three 3-pointers and tossed in 14 points in Ottumwa’s final game against Burlington in the regional quarterfinals in  Class 5A Substate.

Black corralled a team high 4.5 rebounds a game and swatted a team-best 13 blocks. She ranked second on the team in scoring with 5.6 points a game and first in field goals made with 46. She also came up with 28 steals on the season.

Black was the Bulldogs steadiest offensive performer early in the season when Ottumwa was still struggling to find its identity, as she led Ottumwa in scoring in three of its first four games. The junior Bulldog also tossed in 12 points in Ottumwa’s overtime victory over Fort Madison.

Although she regularly knocked down mid-range jumpers, Black could also score in transition. She relentlessly attacked the glass on both ends of the floor all season.

“To lead us in rebounding while playing on the perimeter a lot is a pretty big accomplishment,” Patterson said.

In addition, she had an acuse sense of how to block shots.

“She anticipates really well and she’s athletic with long arms,” Patterson said. “{She} will probably block more shots next year.”

Strunk ranks second on the team in steals with 32 and third in scoring, as she averaged about six points a game. She also ranks third on the team in assists with 25.

Strunk posted a team-high 14 points during Ottumwa’s 57-9 thrashing of Des Moines North. The senior guard real began to assert herself  on offense as the season progressed,  especially when it came to driving the ball  to the basket.

“She did our best job making mid-range  jump shots and driving to the basket from the wing,” Patterson said. “Those are definitely her strengths.”