Just getting to the season opener was a struggle for the Ottumwa girls basketball team. A November pause in team activities due to Covid-19 concerns cost OHS its preseason scrimmage and first three games, not to mention valuable practice time. With five new starters on the floor this season, the Bulldogs faced a tough opener Tuesday night on the road against an experienced Mount Pleasant squad.
The lack of live-action work showed in the first half when Ottumwa fell behind by 13 points. The Bulldogs rallied in the second half, but ultimately came up short, losing 37-25. OHS fell to 0-1, while the Panthers improved to 2-2.
Facing a 19-6 halftime deficit, OHS made adjustments and came out for a strong third quarter, outscoring Mount Pleasant 10-6 to get back in the game. Addison Ransom had a strong first start for Ottumwa, leading the team with eight points. Anne Guest scored seven and Chloe Schneckloth added six with a pair of second-half three pointers.
While the offense was finding its footing, the Bulldog defense showed a lot of promise. Ottumwa forced multiple turnovers throughout the second half, frustrating the Panthers and knocking them out of their first-half rhythm. The combination of stifling defense and improved offense allowed OHS to pull within five points twice in the fourth quarter. Ottumwa finally ran out of gas, however, as a pair of Mount Pleasant three pointers jump-started a 9-2 surge to end the game.
Olivia Coram was the only other Bulldog to find the scoring column, totaling four points. Ottumwa will need to improve on an offensive effort that saw them shoot on 21% from the field, including 2-of-17 from three-point range, while committing 19 turnovers. OHS was strong at the free-throw line, knocking down nine of eleven from the stripe.
A short-handed Ottumwa boys basketball team lost at home Tuesday night to Mount Pleasant 58-47. OHS dropped to 1-1 on the season, while the Panthers improved to 2-2.
Matt Graeve led the Bulldogs with 17 points and Kie Glosser added 14, but Ottumwa played without five of its regulars, including starters Trae Swartz, Joe Hammer and Adam Greiner. OHS hopes to be back at full strength on Saturday when they travel to Fort Dodge.