Through it all, the Warriors have considered themselves a better team for taking on the test that Southeastern provided in the regular season series.
“They’ve really pushed us hard,” Peery said. “We’ve played so many good teams and they’ve been as good as anyone at pushing us and making us work.”
The Feb. 8 win over Southeastern also proved to be the most important win the Warriors earned this year. The Blackhawks entered the Hellyer Center three weeks ago needing a win to essentially secure the outright regular season regional title and home court advantage throughout the postseason.
Having experienced what a hostile environment Loren Walker Arena can be to a visiting team, IHCC got its first true "must-win" victory of the year to bring home court back into the Warriors favor. Last Saturday, Indian Hills got its second "must-win" with a 104-93 victory over Marshalltown with the postseason home court still up for grabs.
Sophomore Roderick Bobbitt, who was part of IHCC’s last postseason journey two years ago to the national tournament, knows how important playing at the Hellyer Center can be for the Warriors.
“We had some big plays (Wednesday in the regional semifinals against Marshalltown). Anytime we make those plays, it gets the crowd into it and it messes with other team because it’s so loud,” Bobbitt said. “It makes it tough for them just to get the ball in. Whenever we can get the crowd involved, we love to do it.”
The Warriors figure to need every advantage they can get against a Southeastern squad that didn’t buckle when faced with the prospect of taking down IHCC at the Hellyer Center earlier this year. The Blackhawks came out setting the pace of play head coach Terry Carroll wanted against the up-tempo Warriors, leading to Southeastern opening a nine-point lead in the first half and nearly erasing a late nine-point deficit before time finally ran out.