Courier sports staff
The Ottumwa boys and girls basketball games at CIML Metro Conference opponent Des Moines East in Des Moines Tuesday were canceled because of winter storm warnings. Snowfall totaling 3-6 inches was projected to fall in the Southeast Iowa area from Tuesday night into this morning. In addition, North to northwest winds of 20-30 miles per hour and wind gusts as high as 35 miles per hour were predicted to last into this morning.
Visibility was projected to be reduced by one half-mile to one quarter-mile from late Tuesday into this morning because of snow and blowing snow — which at times may transform into near blizzard conditions.
The Ottumwa girls game has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. Thursday at Des Moines East High School in Des Moines and the boys makeup game has yet to be rescheduled.
The Ottumwa girls (3-12, 2-7) look to bounce back from a 48-17 loss to third-ranked Indianola (Class 4A) at Evans Middle School last Friday in CIML Metro Conference action. Third-ranked Des Moines East (Class 5A) (15-2, 9-0) dominated the two teams’ first encounter this season, as the Scarlets handily defeated the Bulldogs, 73-23.
Since the loss, Ottumwa has gotten increased offensive output from post players Carissa Hite and Alexis Winn. Hite, Winn and fellow post player Rachel Zingg also have sharpened their defensive skills, which has made it harder for opposing forwards to score inside. The Bulldogs will need strong play from all three girls, as well as solid offensive efforts from Sydney Strunk, Megan Black and leading scorer Olivia Roark to compete with the mighty Scarlets.
They will also need Roark and Strunk to use their quickness to get steals and force turnovers, while Black must attack the glass with the same level of intensity she has displayed all season.
The boys team (1-13, 1-8) is coming off a 42-32 CIML Metro conference loss to Indianola on its home court last Friday. In what has thus far been the highlight of the Bulldogs season, The boys picked up a thrilling 63-61 double-overtime victory over Des Moines East (1-13, 0-8) at Evans Middle School Dec. 18. Ottumwa’s victory was spurred by an incredible performance by Carter Burns, who scored a season-high 31 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Austin Walker also added 15 points to the Bulldogs’ final tally. The boys, however, got some key buckets from a number of sources in the contest. For example, Brok Hopwood scored on a putback in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to tie it at 47 and send the game into overtime. In the second overtime, Kyle Keck made a short jumper from the left baseline to put Ottumwa up 62-61. It was a lead the boys would never relinquish.
One major obstacle standing between Ottumwa and more wins has been prolonged scoring droughts. If the Bulldogs can avoid a long bout of offensive stagnation against East, they could sweep the Scarlets and pick up what will hopefully be a confidence-building victory.