With both the Des Moines Lincoln Railsplitters and Ottumwa Bulldogs riding winning streaks, something had to give Friday in Ottumwa. After a 3-for-30 first half for Lincoln, Ottumwa was able to cruise to their fifth straight win, 65-45. The Bulldogs went on to beat North Saturday for their sixth straight, evening the Rails and Polar Bears at the top of the CIML Metro standings.
Lincoln’s first half struggles included a handful of missed layups, a flurry of missed open threes and was topped off with a few missed free throws, just for good measure. The Rails responded with a 37-point second half but the damage was done as Ottumwa stayed locked in all night in a 20-point win.
Ben Badger was the only Lincoln player in double digits, scoring 13. The Rails finished the game at 26.3 percent shooting.
“Ottumwa is one of the toughest places we go to every year and we still haven’t figured out how to give them our best shot down there,” said head coach Justin Einerson. “They are extremely well-coached and have some high-level talent. We were as cold as I’ve seen in the first half but I’m a firm believer that most shooting stats even out in the long run.”
Thankfully, the Railsplitters didn’t have to dwell on the loss very long as Lincoln tipped with Atlantic at 3:30 Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena. After struggling to score in the first quarter, the Rails were able to turn defense into offense for the final three periods in a 72-43 win over the Trojans.
Lincoln shot 45.9 percent from the field including a 10-of-26 mark from three. The Rails forced 20 Trojan turnovers and scored 28 points off those turnovers.
The 10-4 Railsplitters head to Johnston Tuesday night for a clash with the 8-7 Dragons. After a busy week, here are the updated CIML Metro Standings:
Lincoln 6-1, 10-4 Overall
North 6-1, 8-6 Overall
Ottumwa 3-4, 9-7 Overall
Hoover 4-5, 6-10 Overall
Roosevelt 2-5, 5-8 Overall
East 0-7, 0-15