The Ottumwa Courier

November 3, 2012

Fifth-ranked Warriors pull away from Carl Sandburg in opener

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — At 6-foot-6, Jelan Kendrick is among the tallest members of this year’s Indian Hills basketball team.

At 6-foot-6, Carl Sandburg certainly had to anticipate Kendrick would be a factor in the post.

But as the Chargers found on Friday night in the Jack Blackwell Classic, Kendrick is a dangerous threat from anywhere on the floor. That’s exactly what the Warriors would expect from their new point guard.

The sophomore transfer from Mississippi was one of several Warriors to make a positive first impression in the season-opening Blackwell Classic. Kendricks’ debut as a Warrior featured a 16-point, 11-assist double-double as the Warriors pulled away for a 109-84 victory Friday night at the Hellyer Student Life Center.

“God blessed me with the ability to be this tall and be able handle the ball and be a true point guard,” Kendrick said. “I work very hard to try and dominate at my position and be the best point guard I can be not only for me but for my team.

“I take pride in Indian Hills. All of us take pride in being a part of this team.”

Warrior fans got to see all the proud members of the 2012-13 basketball squad in the opening game. Kendrick tried to find everyone, as 11 of the 13 players scored at least one of the 109 points.

Seven of those players scored in double figures, highlighted by an impressive season-opening double-double from Jameel McKay. The Milwaukee native collected his seventh double-double of his Warrior career with a game-best 20 points and 17 rebounds.

“I make a conscious effort to go to the basket every night and go to the glass,” McKay said. “I take pride in my rebounding. I feel like if I can rebound, it makes the game a lot easier for me.”

While there was a lot to like about the Warriors opening contest, it wasn’t without some miscues. IHCC committed 23 turnovers on the night and committed 29 fouls, allowed Carl Sandburg to outscore the Warriors by 11 points from the foul line and 15 points from beyond the 3-point arc.

The scrappy Chargers hung in early, as Indian Hills struggled through much of the first half to get a groove going. Carl Sandburg overcame an early 10-0 run by the Warriors to tie the game at 21-21 with consecutive steals that resulted in lay-ups.

“We played hard, but we could have played harder,” sophomore Ronnie Stevens said after a 10-point, six-rebound effort in the opener. “I think we’d get about a B-minus for this contest. There was a lot of feeling out going on in the first half.”

A 19-3 run late in the first half helped Indian Hills open a 48-29 halftime lead. The Warriors broke out quickly in the second half, scoring 10 of the first 12 points to build a 27-point edge.

“We started getting into a rhythm in the second half. We’re a new team and we’re still trying to figure out how to play together,” Stevens said. “I think we’ll see things start to open up a lot more in the first half as the season goes on.”

The opening game also served as the first look for head coach Barret Peery for how all 13 players handled game conditions, resulting in several substitutions and different lineups. That consistent change seemed to catch the Warriors off-guard at times, allowing Carl Sandburg to get as close as 15 points in the second half as the Chargers shot 51 percent in the second half.

“We played a little timid at times, especially in the first half, and we were a little too careful instead of just letting the game flow,” Peery said. “That’s to be expected for the first time out with the lights on bright.”

“We’re one of the top programs in the country and everyone’s expecting so much from us. That made it a little jittery out there for the first game,” Kendrick added.

Marvin Nunn led Carl Sandburg with 19 points and six rebounds while Seth Wickert added 18 as the depth of the Warriors took over late. Dustin Hogue, who arrived in Ottumwa earlier in the day after being stranded in New York due to Hurricane Sandy, found McKay on a late breakaway as IHCC opened a last-minute 29-point lead.

“I’m so relieved to get back out here. I’m so glad to be playing again,” McKay said. “I’ve been dreaming of this day since our last game at Hutch last year.”

Both teams return to the Hellyer Center court tonight to conclude the Blackwell Classic. After Carl Sandburg (0-1) faces William Penn JV (0-1) at 4:30 p.m., No. 5 (DI) IHCC (1-0) faces No. 7 (DII) Kirkwood (1-0) in a sensational second game of the season at 7 p.m.

“We’re not going to win in league or national championships in November. We need tests all year long,” Peery said. “We’re still a work in progress, but I like out pieces so far.”

 No. 5 Indian Hills 109, Carl Sandburg 84

C.S. (84) — Marvin Nunn 19, Seth Wickert 18, Aaron Powers 14, Mitch Wendling 12, Juwan Hubbard 6, Zach Grover 5, Jerrell White 4, Matt Sagona 3, Jeremy Brown 2, Anthony Misuraca 1. Totals 25-65 25-33 84.

3-point goals — 9-15 (Nunn 3-4, Wickert 3-4, Sagona 1-1, Grover 1-2, Hubbard 1-2, Misuraca 0-2). Fouled out — Hubbard. Rebounds — 41 (Nunn 6, Powers 6, White 6, Wendling 4, Wickert 4, Brown 3, Grover 3, Javauntae Hicks 3, Misuraca 3, Hubbard 2, Sagona). Assists — 21 (Hubbard 5, White 5, Wickert 3, Hicks 2, Misuraca 2, Powers 2, Nunn, Wending). Steals — 8 (White 3, Wickert 3, Powers 2, Hicks). Blocks — 1 (Sagona). Total fouls — 23. Turnovers — 31.

IHCC (109) — Jameel McKay 20, Jelan Kendrick 16, Justin Moss 13, Ronald Ross 11, Frank Williams 11, Ronnie Stevens 10, Trinson White 10, Matin Dixon-Green 7, Richard Amardi 4, Dustin Hogue 4, Majok Deng 2, Gary Williams, Jr. 1. Totals 46-86 14-27 109.

3-point goals — 4-17 (Williams 3-4, Kendrick 1-3, Dixon-Green 0-1, Gary Ross 0-1, Williams, Jr. 0-1, Hogue 0-2, White 0-2, R. Ross 0-3). Fouled out — Amardi. Rebounds — 52 (McKay 17, Kendrick 6, Stevens 6, Williams 5, Moss 4, R. Ross 4, Williams, Jr. 4, Deng 2, White 2, Dixon-Green, Hogue). Assists — 31 (Kendrick 11, Williams, Jr. 7, Williams 4, Hogue 3, R. Ross 3, G. Ross, Stevens, White). Steals — 20 (R. Ross 5, Moss 4, Kendrick 2, Stevens 2, Hogue, McKay, G. Ross, White, Williams, Williams, Jr.). Blocks — 12 (Moss 4, Kendrick 3, McKay 2, R. Ross, Stevens, Williams). Total fouls — 29 (Technicals - White, Head coach Barret Peery). Turnovers — 23.

HALF: No. 5 IHCC 48, Carl Sandburg 29