Bobcats take Bulldogs’ bite, 63-39

OTTUMWA — The Marshalltown boys’ basketball team held an opponent to fewer than 40 points for the first time in nearly six years and coupled the defensive performance with a balanced scoring effort.

The sum was the first back-to-back Bobcat victories in five years.

Marshalltown jumped out to a 19-4 lead after the opening quarter and kept the pedal down, pulling away for a 63-39 win over Ottumwa in Monday’s cross-CIML contest at Evans Middle School. Coupled with Friday’s win against Mason City, it marks the first time MHS has won consecutive games since a three-game streak on December 7, 10 and 11 in 2012.

If the Bobcats (3-4) keep holding teams under 40 points, there’s no telling what the future may bring.

“I felt like tonight started on the defensive end, and if the guys keep playing that kind of ‘D’ and rebounding, everything else takes care of itself,” said MHS head coach Scott Smith. “That’s a good road win. It’s tough to win on the road anywhere in this league, but we came out ready to play, got out to a great start and that set the tone for the whole night.”

The Bobcats’ sturdy defensive effort complemented a multi-faceted offensive attack on this night, as eight different Bobcats scored with none getting more than 14 points. Luke Appel and Josh Melde shared team-high scoring honors as Melde made two of the team’s 10 3-pointers, while Appel cashed in seven 2-point shots and had 10 rebounds to make it a double-double.

Austin Shomo sank three 3-pointers, all in the first half, and came away with nine points while helping the Bobcats build a 30-18 lead at the intermission. Marshalltown took the fight out of the Bulldogs (2-4) from there, outscoring Ottumwa 16-4 in the third period to put the game out of reach.

“The kids continue to buy into the defensive side of the ball,” said Smith. “They’re really locked in defensively right now. If we can bring that kind of energy every night, it really starts for us on that end. To hold teams under 40 points in this league, that’s a tremendous job.”

Jacob Smith made a pair of treys and added eight points, Connery Beaty added a triple and pitched in with six points, and Sunday Arou cashed in a second-quarter 3-pointer on his way to five points. Bennett O’Hare’s only bucket, fittingly, was a 3.

Reid Nennig pitched in a pair of jumpers in the fourth quarter as Marshalltown maintained its 24-point lead going into the final frame.

“What a great team win,” coach Smith added. “Just think, if we continue to grow and play together on both ends of the floor, the sky’s the limit.”

Ottumwa’s leading scorer, Andrew Curran, was held well below his season average (16.5) in leading the Bulldogs with nine points. This marked the first time MHS held an opponent under 40 points since a 36-34 Bobcat loss on Jan. 3, 2012, at Johnston. In the game prior, Marshalltown defeated Mason City 52-38 at the Roundhouse on Dec. 20, 2011.

The Bobcats close out the first half of the season slate tonight at the Roundhouse, entertaining a Des Moines East team that fell to 0-6 after losing to Ottumwa by 26 points on Friday night.

“Des Moines East is a very athletic team that can play with anybody,” coach Smith said. “They lack some consistency but they always have great athletes that can get up and down the floor.

“We have some confidence and momemtum and, man, it’s always nice to get that one going into Christmas break. But we can’t look back, we’ve got to stay in the moment, try to get better and keep working hard.”

Marshalltown 63, Ottumwa 39

At Ottumwa

MARSHALLTOWN (3-4) — Austin Shomo 1 3-3 6, Josh Melde 6 0-0 14, Bennett O’Hare 1 0-0 3, Jacob Smith 3 0-0 8, Luke Appel 7 0-0 14, Tyrell Davis 0 0-0 0, Conner Beaty 1 3-3 6, Sam Irwin 0 0-0 0, Reid Nennig 2 0-0 4, Ryan Bates 0 0-0 0, Makeer Kuony 0 0-2 0, Sunday Arou 2 0-0 5. TOTALS 25 3-5 63.

OTTUMWA (2-4) — JayQwon Bridges 2 0-0 4, Sam Yeaway 0 0-2 0, Andrew Curran 4 0-0 9, Jahrett VanEnglenhoven 3 0-0 6, Noah Boyer 3 0-0 6, Lathan Hamm 2 0-0 6, Hunter Nelson 0 0-0 0, Ryan Simmer 1 0-0 3, Blake Foy 0 0-0 0, Colby Redd 2 0-0 5, Connor Sutton 0 0-0 0, Eli McDaniel 0 0-0 0, Caleb Vasconez 0 0-0 0, Grady Orwig 0 0-0 0, Zach Bennett 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 17 0-2 39.

MHS 19 11 16 17 — 63

OTTUMWA 4 14 4 17 — 39

3-Point Goals–MHS 10 (Shomo 3, Melde 2, Smith 2, Beaty, O’Hare, Arou), Ottumwa 5 (Hamm 2, Curran, Simmer, Redd). Total Fouls–MHS 9, Ottumwa 8. Fouled Out–none.