Ottumwa girls fall at Lincoln

Camdyn Crouse (4) makes a pass during high school girls basketball action for the Ottumwa Bulldogs at Fort Madison on Nov. 22. Crouse led Ottumwa with nine points Tuesday night in a 48-29 CIML Metro conference loss at Des Moines Lincoln.

DES MOINES — For the second straight night, a slow start doomed the chances for the Ottumwa girls basketball team to score a CIML Metro conference road win in Des Moines.

This time, the opening scoring drought that consumed the entire opening quarter and several minutes in the second would prove to be the difference in a 48-29 loss at Des Moines Lincoln on Tuesday. The Railsplitters scored the first 18 points of the game before battling back and forth through the final 20 minutes with Ottumwa, seeing the 18-0 lead trimmed to 27-13 by halftime.

"We played them even for most of the game, but it's hard to come back when you're down 18-0," Ottumwa head girls basketball coach Joe VandenBerg said. "When you get down and turn the ball over, it makes it difficult to come from behind."

Ottumwa struggled at the start for the second straight night against a Metro rival, going nearly 12 full minutes without a point Monday in a 55-26 loss at Des Moines North. The Bulldogs gave up the first 19 points of the game to the Polar Bears before Miya Fuller's 3-pointer with 4:51 left in the second quarter finally put Ottumwa on the board.

"We can't keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results," VandenBerg said. "I don't know if it's nerves or we're afraid to take a shot and turn it over early. We have to take shots with confidence and learn to have to confidence to take those open looks."

After finally getting on the scoreboard Tuesday against Lincoln, Ottumwa was able to put up 13 points late in the first half. Camdyn Crouse led the scoring for the Bulldogs with nine points against the Railsplitters while Brylee Jaeger and Kennedy Hugen each scored six points for Ottumwa.

"We've been able to start moving the ball a lot faster as we go along during the game," Crouse said. "We've come a long way from where we were moving the ball at the start of the season. We've just got to figure out a way to overcome the slow starts."

Fuller joined Rylea Hinebaugh and Hunter Caldwell with two points apiece for the Bulldogs. Addison Ransom and Nellie Morgan each added a point for Ottumwa (2-8, 2-2 CIML Metro), who will be back in action on Monday at Burlington.

"We just have to play better at the start of the game," VandenBerg said. "We have to understand what we're doing and how to execute better right from the start."

Kira Canada led a balanced attack for Lincoln (2-7, 1-2 CIML Metro) with a game-high 12 points on Tuesday. Carlee Julius racked up a double-double for the Railsplitters with 11 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks while Janae Wynter added 10 points.

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