OTTUMWA — It’s always tough to know how motivated a college basketball team will be at this time of the year.
With a two-week holiday break looming following Friday’s contest with Carl Sandburg, it might have been easy for the top-ranked Indian Hills Warriors to be mentally checked out of the Hellyer Student Life Center before physically leaving following the game.
The visiting Chargers (10-4) were not so lucky. Top-ranked IHCC routed the Illinois school 128-68 for its most decisive win of the season yet.
The win sends the Warriors into the holiday break as the top-ranked team in the nation with a perfect 15-0 record, an early Christmas gift for head coach Barret Peery’s squad.
“The goal was to get to 15-0 when we woke up Christmas morning,” Peery said. “We’re breaking up the season into achieving the few different goals at different points. We’ve accomplished this one.”
Indian Hills was never threatened after going on a 12-0 run early in the first half to open up a 21-8 lead on Carl Sandburg. After exchanging 9-0 runs with the Chargers, IHCC rolled out to a 68-37 halftime lead and never looked back.
“You do worry sometimes about the focus of a team in a game like this. We brought the guys in and had a hard practice earlier (on Friday),” Peery said. “I wanted these guys to get a good sweat on.”
There was very little for IHCC fans to sweat about in the second half. The Warriors continued to steamroll its way to a 15th-straight win, shooting over 60 percent from the field (48-78) while doubling up Carl Sandburg at one point 120-60 with just four minutes left in the game.
“Tonight’s a perfect example when a team can get selfish and start keeping the ball for themselves, but our guys didn’t do that,” Peery said. “They continued to share the ball and everyone really worked hard.”