PELLA — The Ottumwa boys basketball traveled to Pella Tuesday night for one test in 2020, a battle with a tall Pella Christian squad.
"When I took this job, I put an emphasis on defense," assessed Bulldog head coach Neil Hartz, "I was pleased with our defensive effort again."
Ottumwa combined a staunch defensive effort which featured a mix of man-to-man and 2-3 zone defense. The Bulldogs exploded offensively in the third quarter, scoring 24 points to clinch a 58-43 win over the Eagles.
Ottumwa used two 3-point goals in the first quarter by senior Joe Hammer as the two teams exchanged leads five times before closing out the first period of play leading 14-11 over the host school.
"I felt our scouting report was right on," claimed Hartz.
The Bulldogs would use their speed and athleticism to counter a Pella Christian line up that featured a front line going 6-8, 6-7 and 6-7. Ottumwa would open the lead during the second frame as they opened the quarter on eight straight points including a three-point play when senior Matt Graeve was fouled as he made a lay-up. The Eagles would head to the locker room trailing the Bulldogs 29-18 at intermission.
Ottumwa's Trae Swartz was back in the line-up and got back into the flow during a high-octane offensive show in the third period. Following an opening bucket by Adam Greiner, Swartz hit a 3-pointer from the left wing then added another from the right baseline early in the quarter.
Junior Armani Robinson would put the finishing touches on the quarter, scoring seven points in the final two minutes of play helping the Bulldogs open up a solid 53-33 lead as they entered the final period of play. Ottumwa would hold on the ball for most of the last three minutes to secure the 15-point win.
Adam Greiner led the Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points. Swartz added 13 in his second game back after returning from COVID-19 quarantine.
Robinson and Hammer added seven points for Ottumwa. Gatlin Menninga and Mason Young, also back this week from quarantine, added four rebounds each for the Bulldogs.
The next scheduled contest for the Bulldogs (4-2) is slated for Tuesday, Jan. 5 as they are to travel to Des Moines to take on North High School. There is still a question as to whether any CIML Metro conference squads will be able to play as the Des Moines Public Schools continue for the moment with all-virtual learning.
"We are hoping the metro schools will be playing in January since we have eight games scheduled for conference play in the CIML," noted Hartz. "Facing the metro schools is a different ball game, they run a lot and shoot the three."
Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Ottumwa 14 15 24 5 58
Pella Ch. 11 7 15 10 43