OTTUMWA — In a lot of ways, this has been an old-school Indian Hills basketball season.
Lots of points. Lots of excitement. Lots of wins.
So perhaps it’s fitting that the Region XI championship comes down to one final regional meeting this year with IHCC’s oldest rival. Like so many seasons, the top-ranked Warriors road to Hutchinson, Kan., will have to include overcoming the roadblock that is found right down old Highway 34.
Southeastern. Indian Hills. One game. One night. One Region XI champion.
That’s about as old-school as it gets for the great Warrior and Blackhawk basketball programs.
“This place (the Hellyer Center) ought to look like a crazy circus, which is what you want to be playing in and what you want to be coaching in,” IHCC head coach Barret Peery said. “You’ve got two great teams battling it out at the end for a championship.”
“It’s going to be absolutely a wonderful night,” fellow IHCC sophomore Roosevelt Scott added. “Southeastern is a great team and we know they’re going to come out to play us hard. We just have to play them even harder.”
Aside from a few additional non-regional losses suffered by the Blackhawks, not much has separated the Warriors from Southeastern heading into tonight’s title contest. The two teams played each other for 80 tough minutes in the two regular-season games.
In game one, the Blackhawks (ranked 17th heading into tonight) overcame an early 15-point deficit and battled through several ties and lead changes in the second half to pull away in the final five minutes for a 104-94 victory at Loren Walker Arean. The loss was the first and only time this year IHCC has been outscored in regulation by an opponent.
That win allowed Southeastern to enjoy the first half of regular season regional play alone in first place. That changed three weeks ago when another tightly played contest between the two regional rivals came down to a second-half surge by the Warriors that allowed Indian Hills to even the series and regional standings with an 84-81 triumph in Ottumwa.