The game started well enough for the Ottumwa High School girls basketball team when Kacy Nickerson hit a 3-pointer a minute in.
The next 31 minutes, however, were ones the Bulldogs would rather forget.
Ninth-ranked (Class 1A) Urbandale scored 16 consecutive points and took a 20-point lead after a quarter, and routed the Bulldogs 61-18 in a CIML crossover contest Tuesday at Evans Middle School.
“They’re No. 9 for a reason. They went to state last year and have almost everyone back,” Ottumwa coach Joe VandenBerg said. “They’re so efficient and patient. They just know what it takes to be a great team.”
Northern Iowa-bound Maya Gyamfi didn’t disappoint; the 6-foot-1 senior scored a game-high 22 points, 20 of those in the first half as the Bulldogs (12-8) had no answer for the J-Hawks’ inside game. Sister Jada Gyamfi, who is 6-2, added 10 points.
“We thought we could drive the lane, but we just never could turn that corner,” VandenBerg said. “When we did, we’re looking at 6-1 and 6-2 in front of us. They altered our shots.”
Ottumwa went long stretches between points in the first half as the J-Hawks (14-6) led 35-7 at the break Alli Bookin-Nosbisch’s inside basket over five minutes into the second quarter was the Bulldogs’ lone basket of the quarter as the J-Hawks went on a 33-2 run. The Gyamfi sisters scored all 10 of the team’s points in the second quarter.
Urbandale scored layups in transition and on cutters to the basket, while the defense held the Bulldogs to just five points in the third quarter in increasing the lead to 50-12. Madilyn Lynch buried a 3-pointer and scored on a backdoor cut to make it 48-9.
Grace Bookin-Nosbisch and Nickerson each scored six points for the Bulldogs.
“That’s just a tall team. They’re smallest players are 5-6 or 5-7,” VandenBerg said. “They have length with long spans. But I’ll bet every one of their players is on an AAU team, and they play for 10 months a year. When you get that in your program ...”
The Bulldogs have lost two in a row, and look to avoid a third consecutive final-week loss when they finish the regular season Friday at Des Moines Roosevelt.
“We have a tough group of girls who are experienced players with three or four years under their belt,” VandenBerg said. “They know what it takes and they will push hard. We have to lean on that experience and leadership now.”