OTTUMWA — Trips to Des Moines are common throughout the winter for the Ottumwa girls basketball team. At the rate the Bulldog girls are rolling this season, they might be making a few unscheduled trips to the capital city in the final week of February.
Kelsey Nickerson followed up a record night at Marshalltown with a somewhat quieter 27-point effort Friday at Des Moines Hoover. Avery Roane also came up big in her first game taking over for injured senior Tara Gott as the Bulldogs’ clinched at least a share of the CIML Metro Conference title with their 11th-straight win, a 65-30 triumph over the Huskies.
The victory, Ottumwa’ 14th in 15 games after starting the season with four straight losses, kept the Bulldogs perfect in conference play. Ottumwa (14-5, 9-0) can take the outright Metro title next Friday night at Des Moines East, who can share the title with a win over the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs got contributions from all sources, but struggled early as the Huskies limited Nickerson and stayed even at 7-7 through one quarter. Ottumwa head coach Kevin Patterson credits the rest of the team for getting Nickerson heated up from the field.
“Once we started to screen better in the second quarter, we got Kelsey better looks,” Patterson said. “Kelsey’s taking really good shots right now.”
Perhaps the biggest performance came from Roane, who had a career night with a double-double of 11 points and a game-best 10 rebounds. Roane will be starting in the post along with Rachel Hinebaugh for the rest of the season after Gott suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Tuesday’s win at Marshalltown.
“(Avery’s) focus was on the boards all night,” Patterson said. “We need her rebounding, and she knows that.”
The Bulldogs never looked back after opening a 31-10 lead at the half. The Huskies (8-10, 5-4) didn’t have one player reach double figures as Takieyah Wells led Hoover with just seven points.
Before their Metro title showdown to finish the regular season, Ottumwa will look extend their winning streak in a non-conference road test at Keokuk on Tuesday. With a victory over the Purple Chiefs, the Bulldogs would have a dozen wins in a row and possibly a return to the Class 4A top-15 rankings.
“That’s okay (that Ottumwa isn’t ranked). If we can win 11 straight games and still get to play with a chip on our shoulder, that’s a good thing,” Patterson said.
Ottumwa 65, Des Moines Hoover 30
Ott 7 24 15 19 — 65
DMH 7 3 7 13 — 30
Ottumwa (65) — Kelsey Nickerson 27, Avery Roane 11, Sammy Garrett 7, Rachel Hinebaugh 6, Ashley Salgado 5, Alex Collins 3, Darby Patritto 3, Sydney Strunk 2, Paige Schriner 1. Totals 20 FG 20-28 65.
3-point goals — 5 (Nickerson 3, Collins, Patritto). Rebounds — 30 (Roane 10). Assists — 14 (Salgado 5). Steals — 16 (Salgado 5, Garrett 5). Blocks — 3 (Hinebaugh 3). Total fouls — 16. Turnovers — 18.
Des Moines Hoover (30) — Takieyah Wells 7, Mikayla Larson 6, Duop Sunday 5, McKenna Brown 4, Nyakat Diew 4, Suvana Robinson 2, Shyle Floyd 2. Totals 13 FG 3-12 30.
3-point goals — 1 (Brown). Fouled out — Wells. Total fouls — 21.