OTTUMWA — Indian Hills basketball fans have proven they'll travel anywhere in droves to watch the Warriors this season. It's possible the next time they have travel, however, won't be until the NJCAA Divsion I National Basketball Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan.
Indian Hills learned on Wednesday that the team will receive forfeit wins for the final two scheduled road games of the regular season after the opponents, Iowa Western and Moberly Area, suspended their players two games each for following a bench-clearing altercation in the final seconds of Tuesday's game involving the two squads
According to the Daily Nonpareil, no punches appeared to be thrown in the altercation, which came with 11.6 seconds and Iowa Western leading 95-92. However, leaving the bench area and the on-court shoving that occurred at Kanesville Arena were violations of NJCAA sportsmanship policy.
The Reivers (23-5) were to face the Warriors at home on Saturday before heading to Southeastern next weekend. At 4-2 in league play, they were a game behind both IHCC and Southeastern leaving the opportunity to at least share the regional title in their control.
Iowa Western will finish third in the region and are locked into the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Region XI tournament. The Reivers won't play again until the semifinal round of the tourney, at the No. 2 seed, on Feb. 26. IHCC and Southeastern both have one regional game remaining with both essentially having 6-1 regional records. Southeastern plays at Northeast (Neb.) on Saturday while Indian Hills will host Marshalltown the following weekend.
The suspensions were handed down by the NJCAA and the ICCAC. Moberly Area will also have to forfeit its Region XVI game on Saturday with State Fair and the following Tuesday night home game with IHCC. The NJCAA did not grant Indian Hills an additional game to make up for the two forfeits, which would have been on Saturday at home with State Fair, according to school officials.