DES MOINES — Closing out games — it’s easier said than done.

It’s a key aspect of the prep hoops game that the Ottumwa boys basketball team needs to work on.

The Bulldogs and head coach Chris Gravett let winless Des Moines East (0-9, 0-5) hang around a little too long, but it was a win nonetheless for Ottumwa on Tuesday evening.

The Bulldogs picked up their sixth win of the season with a 57-52 win over the Scarlets.

Ottumwa (6-4, 2-3) led 41-26 midway through the third quarter after an Erik Thorgaard 3-ball. The Scarlets continued to chip away at the lead and still made a game of it.

“There wasn’t any physicality in the game,” said Gravett. “We have to put teams away. With a 15-point lead it ought to be lights out.”

“Big Ben” Ryder led all scorers with 14 points for the “Dawgs.”

The Bulldogs got some nice offensive production from a pair of sophomores — Ben Kramer and Thorgaard. Each tallied 10 points apiece.

Ottumwa seniors Michael Wetrich and Justin Rusch each hit for eight points apiece.

Gravett wasn’t pleased with his team’s aggressiveness. He knows his squad will have to come to play against Des Moines North this Friday — a huge game for the Bulldogs in terms of seeding and for confidence the rest of the season.

“We just let guys get back in the game by not making things difficult on anybody. We have to close out hard,” said Gravett.

Ottumwa 57, Des Moines East 52

OTT 18 6 12 21 — 57

DME 9 11 6 26 — 52

OTTUMWA (57) — Ben Ryder 14, Ben Kramer 10, Erik Thorgaard 10, Michael Wetrich 8, Justin Rusch 8, Zach Throckmorton 3, Adam Goodvin 2, Blake Miller 2. Totals 23 8-18 57.

3-point goals — 3 (Thorgaard, Wetrich, Throckmorton). Fouled out — None. Total fouls — 9.

DES MOINES EAST (52) — Cameron Shivers 13, Tyler Jensen 12, Learie Jones 12, Louie Ingoli 8. Totals 22 5-6 52.

3-point goals — 3 (Jensen 2, Shivers). Fouled out — Jones. Total fouls — 17.


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