OTTUMWA — Loose balls quickly turned into breakaway layups, and Ottumwa head coach Mike Holmes hurriedly called timeouts.

That was the story in Ottumwa’s opening-season 49-36 loss to Ankeny at Evans Middle School on Tuesday in non-conference boys basketball action.

Ottumwa turned the ball over 22 times, and half of those miscues led to transition buckets for the 2005 state tournament qualifier Hawks.

Ottumwa shot 44 percent on the night while Ankeny stroked the ball to a 46 percent clip.

Ottumwa was led in scoring by Jon Rusch, who had 11 points.

The Bulldogs outrebounded Ankeny 27-19.

Holmes talked about those kind of positives that were overshadowed by Ankeny’s tight defense and Ottumwa’s lack of good decision making.

“We did pretty much everything well except possession of the ball,” said Holmes. “That’s our number-one key. That’s what we say to our kids in preseason. We’re going to evaluate you offensively on number-one — can you take care of the basketball?”

Ankeny broke the game wide open midway through the third quarter behind of barrage of steals, most notably by leading scorer Nate Nygren, who swiped seven.

Nygren and Billy Beverly each netted 14 points to lead all scorers.

Ottumwa raced out to an 8-2 lead behind 3-pointers by juniors Kip Stuart and Jon Duree.

Ottumwa held Ankeny without a field goal for the first 4:15 of the first period.

The Hawks went on an 8-0 run to lead 10-8 with 1:08 left in the first period but Ottumwa strangled that lead back on a Jon Rusch back-door layup right before the buzzer to lead 12-10 after the first period.

David Johnson’s bank shot that found the bottom of the net with 5:45 left in the first half gave Ottumwa a 16-13 lead.

But turnovers would be a huge problem and it didn’t help that Ankeny finally found their shooting range in the second half.

Ankeny led 24-21 at the break.

The Hawks stormed out the gates in the second half behind Nygren’s 3-point shot from behind the arc which was the culmination of a big Ankeny run that pushed the score in their favor at 35-23.

That lead would stay right around that margin the rest of the way.

The Bulldogs were outscored 13-5 in the third period.

Ottumwa (0-1) hosts Newton Friday.

Ankeny 49, Ottumwa 36

Ankeny 10 14 13 12 — 49

Ottumwa 12 9 5 10 — 36

Ankeny (49) — Nate Nygren 5-10-14, Billy Beverly 6-10-14, Morris Smeader 4-9-10, Kevin Smith 5-10-10, Dan Brandhort 0-0-1. Totals 20-43 7-14 49.

3-point goals — 2-5 (Beverly 2). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — 19 (Smith 7, Nygren 5). Steals — 19 (Nygren 7, Beverly 4). Total fouls — 16. Turnovers — 13.

Ottumwa (36) — Jon Rusch 4-7-11, Michael Shoemaker 3-5-6, Kip Stuart 2-9-5, Jon Duree 2-5-5, Hunter Daniels 1-1-3, Ryan Schooley 1-2-2, David Johnson 1-3-2, Cody Thie 1-2-2. Totals 15-34 4-8 36.

3-point goals — 2-11 (Stuart, Duree). Fouled out — Stuart. Rebounds — 27 (Shoemaker 6, Schooley 6, Johnson 3, Thie 3, Rusch 3). Steals — 6. Total fouls — 14. Turnovers — 22.

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