OTTUMWA — For almost 20 minutes on Saturday, top-ranked Indian Hills looks like a basketball team that hadn't been on the court for almost two full weeks.
If that had continued for another 20 minutes, IHCC might have been looking at making other travel plans for the postseason. Instead, there's only one road trip left the Warriors are hoping to make in the 2013-14 season.
Indian Hills shook off the rust and an 11-point deficit against Marshalltown to earn a 104-93 win over the Tigers Saturday night at the Hellyer Student Life Center. The win clinches the top seed in the upcoming Region XI Tournament, meaning the Warriors will host every regional and district tournament contest as long as they keep winning.
Not that Indian Hills wouldn't be happy hitting the road at this point. The only trip left would be to Hutchinson, Kan., for the 2014 NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.
"We only want to go on the road for the national tournament. That's it from now on," IHCC head coach Barret Peery said. "We love our home court. It's one of the best in the country. So to get the opportunity to play here throughout the postseason — we'll take that every time."
It was an opportunity, however, that didn't come easily for a team that received an unexpected 11-day break between games. After throttling Three Rivers at home back on Feb. 10, Indian Hills learned its next two opponents — Iowa Western and Moberly — would have to forfeit two games after suspending its players for the involvement in a late-game altercation between the two teams.
While IHCC earned two wins without having to play a game, the Warriors didn't exactly welcome the extended break.
"We didn't just want those two victories given to us," freshman James Harris, Jr. said. "We want to stay competitive heading into the tournament."