The Ottumwa High boys basketball team started 2015 with its fourth win in five games, holding off a late Des Moines East rally to earn a 56-54 victory at Evans Middle School. OHS improved to 4-3 on the season, 3-1 in the CIML Metro Conference.
After a tight first quarter, the Bulldogs outpaced the Scarlets (0-6, 0-4) by a 15-8 margin in the second quarter and took a nine-point lead into halftime. Ottumwa started the second half with a Brok Hopwood three-pointer to push the lead to 12, but East would spend the rest of the game chipping away at the margin. The Scarlets tied the game at 40 early in the fourth quarter, but OHS finally got enough offense going after that to pull ahead and barely keep East at bay, and survived a flurry of shots in the lane as time finally ran out.
Nic Young led all scorers with 21 points for Ottumwa. He scored 13 in the first half, but sat out most of the third quarter in foul trouble. Young’s eight 4th-quarter points helped OHS hang on, even though he fouled out late in the contest. Brok Hopwood added 12 points for the Bulldogs, while Grand Giardino and Gage Ryder each came off the bench to score seven points. Five of Ryder’s points came in the third quarter at a crucial time, as he filled in for Young in the post.
Ottumwa returns to action Tuesday at Des Moines North.