OTTUMWA — The Des Moines Roughriders gave themselves a chance at the outright CIML Metro title with a 66-54 win over Ottumwa Friday at Evans Middle School. If the Roughriders win out, they win the title outright. It’s ironic, but the Bulldogs, now 4-4 in the Metro race, could still help to determine the outcome. If they can duplicate the big win over Hoover next Friday in Des Moines, Roosevelt will be assured of the title.
The workman-like Roughriders used physical play in the paint to handle the Bulldogs.
“Roosevelt kind of exposes one of our weaknesses,” said Ottumwa coach Chris Gravett. “Our guys in the post work their butts off but their big guys got to play physical and it hurt us.”
Nick Allen started the Bulldogs off right by hitting a 3 for the quick lead. The two physical inside bangers for Roosevelt scored back-to-back but Faith Pope’s steal and breakaway dunk got the crowd into it and gave Ottumwa a 5-4 lead.
The visitors’ Trey Burkhall then took over the quarter. He would score nine points as the Roughriders built a 15-10 lead. Roosevelt hit a 3 with just one tick left on the clock to close out the first up 19-11.
“There were a couple of times early when we were trying to take away the post and they seemed to hit a big shot from the perimeter,” said Gravett.
Roosevelt outscored the Bulldogs 13-8 in the second with their best big, Sam Norman, on the bench with two early fouls. Pope would have his second dunk of the game and score six of the eight Bulldog points in the second.
The pace of the game really picked up in the third eight minutes. The visitors would outscore Ottumwa, 22-21, to head to the fourth up 54-40.
Teams really look to get a quick start out of the halftime break. Unfortunately, it was the visitors with the big opening minutes. They would score the first five points to push the lead to 37-19 just two minutes into the quarter.
“The start to the third was big,” said Gravett. “You just have to play differently when you get in a hole that big.”
The quarter featured more physical play by Norman and Chris Bennett. They would combine for 16 of the 22 Roughrider points. Pope again led the Bulldogs with six of his 18 points on the night. His final basket of the quarter was his third dunk off a perfect lob pass from Ben Kramer. Kyle Keck had some good minutes off the bench and matched Pope’s six with six of his own on two 3s. His second 3 pulled the Bulldogs to within 52-40 with just under a minute left in the third.
Erik Thorgaard scored to open the final quarter to keep the Bulldogs within 12, but the Roosevelt inside game combined for seven straight points to push the lead back to 61-44 Roughriders. Ottumwa would hold a 10-5 advantage over the final five minutes but the visitors, winners of 10 of thieir last 11 games, knew how to finish and picked up the win.
Des Moines Roosevelt 66, Ottumwa 54
DMR 19 13 22 12 — 66
OTT 11 8 21 14 — 54
Des Moines Roosevelt (66) — Larry Mason 3, Burkhall 12, Jelly Sabastiano 6, Bennett 19, Norman 11, Tate Larsen 12, Luke Tasler 3 . Totals 23-50 14-22 66.
3-point goals — 6-17 (Burkhall 2, Bennett 2, Larsen, Tasler). Fouled out —Sabastiano . Rebounds — 29 (Bennett 11). Assists — 13 (Sabastiano 6). Steals — 7 (Mason 3). Blocks — none. Total fouls — 15. Turnovers — 10.
Ottumwa (54) — Allen 10, Kramer 6, Thorgaard 12, Pope 18, Carter Burns 2, Keck 6 . Totals 20-43 9-13 54.
3-point goals — 5-12 (Allen 2, Thorgaard, Keck 2). Fouled out —none . Rebounds — 18 (Pope 8). Assists — 8 (Kramer 5). Steals — 6 (Allen 2, Pope 2). Blocks — 3 (Pope 2). Total fouls — 17. Turnovers — 12.