IHCC INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
COUNCIL BLUFFS —
Despite their lowest point total in two years, the Indian Hills Warriors clinched at least a share of another conference championship with a 67-59 win over Iowa Western on Saturday night in a battle between two teams ranked in the top five nationally.
No. 5 Indian Hills (25-2, 6-0) turned the game around by outscoring fourth-ranked Iowa Western 17-2 at the end of the first half. The Warriors then held off the Reivers in the second half, even though IHCC only made six field goals after halftime.
“It was like Big Ten basketball around that rim. The score definately reflects that,” Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery said. “There were so many big, long athletes where everyone had to just keep battling and battling each other all night.”
Both of Iowa Western’s losses this year have been to the Warriors, who won their 11th straight game overall and their seventh in a row against Iowa Western (24-2, 4-2). Indian Hills is 20-2 against the Reivers over the last seven years.
Ronald Ross led the Warriors with 20 points, seven of them coming in the final 1:23 of the first half. Ross made a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the half and then, after an Iowa Western turnover, nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give IHCC a 39-26 lead at the half.
Ross started the second half with a basket to put the lead at 15, the largest of the game, and Iowa Western spent the rest of the night chipping away at the deficit.
Twice IWCC’s Josiah Coleman made it a three-point game, the second time at 60-57. Devin Brooks missed a potential tying three with 2:43 left, and Tyrone Haughton made one of two free throws to get the Reivers to within two points.
Dustin Hogue gave Indian Hills a little breathing room by scoring on a putback with a little over a minute remaining.
The Warriors then made five-of-six foul shots in the final minute, the first two by Gary Williams, Jr., who was a perfect 8-for-8 for the game. He helped fill in for starting point guard Jelan Kendrick, who is sidelined with a shoulder separation.
Williams had 14 points and Hogue 10.
On a night when he made only 2-of-14 shots from the field, Warriors’ scoring leader Jameel McKay grabbed 18 rebounds.
The game was tied four times in the first half until Brooks put IWCC ahead 24-22 with two free throws. That’s when Indian Hills took off.
After tying the score at 24-all, the Warriors got consecutive field goals from Richard Amardi. McKay and Amardi each scored inside and then Ross stepped up at the end of the first half, with his three as the half ended reminiscent of his game-winning 3-pointer two weeks earlier at Marshalltown.
The Warriors’ run to close the opening half was identical to the one they had in the earlier meeting with Iowa Western, when IHCC ended the Reivers’ 20-game winning streak to open the season.
Brooks had 14 points to lead Iowa Western and Coleman and Tavian Pomlee each added 11.
The 21 field goals for Indian Hills were the fewest they’ve had in the past two years, but they helped themselves by making 22-of-32 free throws, outscoring the Reivers 22-11 from the foul line.
“It was just one of those nights. There weren’t going to be a lot of runouts for dunks,” Peery said.
With the win, Indian Hills clinches no worse than a share of the conference title – they own a two-game lead with two games to play. It means they’ll have home court advantage throughout the Region 11 postseason tournament. And home is where they want to be, winning all 16 home games this year and 36 straight over the last two seasons.
“You have to think about what’s most important,” Peery said. We want every opportunity to host as much as we can and make it, not easier, but as easy as possible to get where we want to get to at the end.”
The Warriors are idle until playing at Southeastern CC on Saturday night. Their final two regular season games are the following week – at Moberly (Mo.) on Feb. 19 and at home against Marshalltown Feb. 23. The postseason begins the next week.
INDIAN HILLS 67, IOWA WESTERN 59
INDIAN HILLS (67) – Jameel McKay 2 3-6 7, Richard Amardi 4 0-0 8, Dustin Hogue 3 4-8 10, Ronald Ross 7 4-6 20, Gary Ross 0 0-0 0, Trinson White 0 2-2 2, Frank Williams 2 0-0 5, Ronnie Stevens 0 1-2 1, Gary Williams, Jr. 3 8-8 14, Majok Deng 0 0-0 0, Rawane Ndiaye 0 0-0 0. Team 21 FG 22-32 67.
IOWA WESTERN (59) – Devin Brooks 6 2-4 14, Dinjihl Walker 2 2-5 7, Tavian Pomlee 4 2-2 11, Tyrone Haughton 1 2-5 4, Josiah Coleman 4 3-4 11, Ryan Bowie 4 0-0 10, Michael Hudson 0 0-0 0, Kashief Thomas 1 0-0 2. Team 22 FG 11-20 59.
Halftime score: Indian Hills 39, Iowa Western 26; Three-point field goals: IHCC 3 (R. Ross 2, F. Williams 1), IWCC 4 (Bowie 2; Walker, Pomlee 1).