Courier sports writer
The holidays are always a time to celebrate. For much Indian Hills fans, the final game of 2012 was a chance to celebrate a truly fantastic year of Warrior basketball.
The 11th-ranked Warriors sent their fans into the Christmas break in a festive mood on Tuesday night. Indian Hills ended the first half of the 2012-13 season with a new single-game scoring high as the Warriors consistently dominated North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC) for 40 minutes in a 128-72 victory at the Hellyer Student Life Center.
“I thought it was our most complete game of the year,” IHCC head coach Barret Peery said. “Everybody contributed, but the thing that stood out was how hard everybody played. I thought it was an emotional, good effort by our team.”
Playing with just nine players again on Tuesday, IHCC got everyone involved right away as the Warriors stretched an early lead out thanks to consecutive dunks by Dustin Hogue and a slam by Jameel McKay. Seven early turnovers helped NIACC respond with a 7-0 run of their own to take an 11-10 lead.
After that, it was all Warriors.
Martin Dixon-Green, who got his earliest call off the bench this season, responded by driving in for a lay-up while getting fouled. The three-point play sparked a career-high 12-point night for the Canadian freshman and sparked an 8-0 run that put the Warriors ahead for good.
“It felt good to get that call early and to get into the flow of the game,” Dixon-Green said. “When you’re playing and you get those first couple baskets to go, it makes you confident you keep hitting those open looks all night.”
The points kept coming in bunches for the Warriors despite everything NIACC head coach Mark Mohl did to try and stop the onslaught. Mohl used half of his timeouts up halfway through the first half and was down to one remaining heading into the second half, which Mohl quickly burned up after McKay and Frank Williams scored consecutive lay-ups to put the Warriors ahead 72-41 with 17:12 to go.
Nothing could slow down the Warriors, who got all nine available players involved early and often in their 14th win of the season.
“It’s all about hard work and confidence with us,” sophomore Rawane Ndiaye said. “We’ve got good players that will be on the court for us regardless of who gets put in. That’s always going to give us confidence in how we can play as a team.”
Ndiaye had his second double-figure rebounding effort in the win, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds against the Trojans just three nights after snaring 15 boards against Clinton. After starting the season in a walking boot recovering from a foot injury, Ndiaye talked about the reward of being able to contribute at a high level heading into the midpoint of the season.
“I’m part of the team and I wanted to help out,” Ndiaye said. “It was a bad situation for me to get injured, but it’s good I could come back. I want to help this team win a national championship. That’s my number one goal.”
Despite opening a 28-point halftime lead, Peery wanted to see his team keep their level of play up in the second half. The Warriors responded by equaling their 64-36 first half score in the second 20 minutes, statistically mirroring their effort on the way to their fourth win by 50 or more points.
“I told the guys at halftime I wasn’t going to coach the scoreboard,” Peery said. “While I didn’t think we had to double the margin, I wanted to see if we play that hard for 40 straight minutes.”
“Players play and tough players win,” Dixon-Green said. “That’s how we played all night. We didn’t lay down in the second half. We came out and finished them off like we should have.”
Any thoughts of letting up against NIACC went away with eight minutes to go in the game. After Peery was hit by a deflected pass by NIACC, leading to a confrontation near midcourt by Mohl and the second-year Warriors’ head coach.
IHCC players responded with a final, fiery flurry as the Warriors turned a 90-53 lead into a 57-point margin to run NIACC out of Ottumwa. When the flurry was over, three different players had over 20 points with sophomore Jameel McKay scoring 29 to lead the Warriors for the third time in four games.
“It was kind of nice to see that the guys had my back like that,” Peery said. “The emotion of the game is going to catch up to you sometimes, but the guys handled it well on the court.”
“We came out and put things away. Maybe what happened with coach had something to do with how we played down the stretch,” Dixon-Green added.
Mohamed Mohamed led NIACC (10-4) with 19 points. No. 11 IHCC (14-1) will return to the floor on Jan. 1 at Central Arizona, kicking off a five-game road trip to begin 2013.
No. 11 INDIAN HILLS 128, NIACC 72
NIACC (72) — Mohamed Mohamed 19, Chris Davis 15, Josiah Lee 11, Matthew Don 10, Sam Skogen 10, Ben McDermott 4, Matt Mckenzie 2, Braxton Williams 1. Totals 28-71 11-22 72.
3-point goals — 5-24 (Lee 3-6, Davis 2-9, David Humphries 0-1, Mckenzie 0-1, McDermott 0-2, Williams 0-2, Mohamed 0-3). Rebounds — 31 (Don 7, Mohamed 6, Davis 5, Lee 5, Williams 5, Skogen 2, McDermott). Assists — 21 (Davis 9, Don 4, Lee 3, McDermott, Mohamed, Alec Saunders, Skogen, Williams). Steals — 10 (Davis 6, Lee 2, McDermott). Blocks — 3 (Mohamed 2, McDermott). Total fouls — 13. Turnovers — 36.
IHCC (128) — Jameel McKay 29, Ronald Ross 23, Frank Williams 21, Dustin Hogue 16, Martin Dixon-Green 12, Gary Williams, Jr. 10, Majok Deng 9, Rawane Ndiaye 5, Gary Ross 3. Totals 53-90 8-12 128.
3-point goals — 14-33 (R. Ross 5-11, Williams 3-8, Dixon-Green 2-5, Williams, Jr. 2-5, G. Ross 1-1, Deng 1-2, Hogue 0-1). Fouled out — Ndiaye. Rebounds — 50 (Ndiaye 11, McKay 9, Hogue 7, Dixon-Green 5, Deng 4, G. Ross 4, Williams 4, Williams, Jr. 3, R. Ross 3). Assists — 44 (Dixon-Green 8, Williams, Jr. 8, G. Ross 7, R. Ross 7, Hogue 5, Ndiaye 4, McKay 2, Williams 2, Deng). Steals — 26 (R. Ross 7, Hogue 6, McKay 3, G. Ross 3, Williams, Jr. 3, Dixon-Green 2, Deng, Williams). Blocks — 3 (Deng, Hogue, McKay). Total fouls — 21. Turnovers — 26.
Halftime: Indian Hills 64, NIACC 36