The Ottumwa High basketball teams experienced split results in their first CIML Metro Conference games of the season Friday night in Des Moines. The Bulldog girls earned their first win of the season, pulling away from Des Moines Lincoln for a 55-42 victory. Despite rallying from a huge deficit–and a career scoring night for Carter Burns–the OHS boys were not as fortunate, dropping their game to the Railsplitters 74-64.
The Ottumwa girls (1-3, 1-0 Metro) got off to a bit of a slow start against Lincoln, trailing 7-2 early before establishing their inside game and making full use of their height advantage over the Rails (0-6, 0-2 Metro). Junior forward Carrissa Hite had her second consecutive strong game for the Bulldogs, scoring 16 points, all of which came in the paint or at the free-throw line. Junior guard Jami Nickerson came off the bench to have her best game so far in a varsity uniform, totaling 13 points, including three 3-pointers.
Ottumwa played its most consistent game of the season, scoring in double digits in all four quarters for the first time. Lincoln hung around until the fourth quarter, when OHS hit three-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Nickerson and junior guard Hayli Beeson.
In the boys game, Ottumwa (0-3, 0-1 Metro) could not have gotten off to a worse start, as Lincoln (3-1, 2-0 Metro) scored the first 15 points of the contest. The Bulldogs answered with an 8-0 run of their own, but Rails senior Sabonis Smith scored 12 points in the opening quarter, and Lincoln led by 12 after the first eight minutes.
OHS might have been completely out of the game at that point if not for junior forward Carter Burns, who hit three 3-pointers in the opening quarter. For Burns, that was just the opening act. He added ten points in the second quarter and 12 more in the third, on his way to finishing with a career-high 35 points. Ottumwa outscored Lincoln 23-16 in the second quarter, and trailed by just five at halftime.
Burns single-handedly kept the Bulldogs in the game in the third quarter, scoring all but two of his team’s points and helping Ottumwa pull to within three as the fourth quarter began. OHS actually took its first lead of the game at 57-56 on a pair of Brok Hopwood free throws, and after falling behind, tied the contest at 58 on a free throw from Andrew Altfillisch. Burns, however, went to the bench with his fourth foul soon after. He only sat for about three minutes, but Ottumwa went into a scoring drought during that time and Lincoln pulled far enough ahead that the Bulldogs could not catch up.
Hopwood was the only other Bulldog to score in double figures, totaling 12 points on the night. Sam Moreland added eight points off the bench, all in the first half. For Lincoln, Smith ended the night with 27 points and Jelani Hughes added 20 points.
Both the Ottumwa boys and girls teams are back in action Saturday evening at Fort Madison. The games will be broadcast on 1240 KBIZ.