Indian Hills will be hard pressed to recreate the kind of dramatic victory they earned on Saturday at Marshalltown.
As far as sophomore Richard Amardi is concerned, coming up with another buzzer-beating win isn’t necessary. In fact, Amardi would gladly take a lack of drama for a lack of sleep any day.
“I didn’t sleep well after Saturday’s game because I felt like we didn’t play our type of basketball,” Amardi said. “We’re a much better basketball team then that. We didn’t want that drama again.”
The sixth-ranked Warriors didn’t have to wait until the last shot to clinch their 22nd win of the season on Tuesday. In fact, it only took one half-closing run to decide the issue against visiting Moberly Area.
IHCC ran away from the Greyhounds in the final minutes of the first half, using a 23-5 run to open up a close game at the Hellyer Student Life Center. The Warriors never looked back, keeping a double-digit lead throughout a 94-81 win that gave Indian Hills their season-best eighth straight victory.
“It was good to get back to doing what we do best,” Amardi said. “We played good defense, got out and run when we had the chance and execute on offense.”
Balanced offense and opportunistic defense were the keys to Tuesday’s win for the Warriors. Five different players scored in double figures, led by Jameel McKay’s 19-point effort.
“That’s definitely our type of basketball. When we can get everyone involved, everyone starts feeding off each other,” McKay said. “We shared the ball really well and were very successful.”
Despite their balanced offense, IHCC couldn’t get away from Moberly after the Greyhounds spotted the Warriors a 9-1 start. Six straight points got Moberly close as the Greyhounds pulled within two points on several occasions in the first half.
It wasn’t until the Warriors defense stepped up that IHCC would run away for good from Moberly. A Dustin Hogue 3-pointer was instantly followed up by a inbound steal and lay-up from Majok Deng, giving IHCC an instant 29-22 lead.
Three more steals led to three more lay-ups as the Warriors scored a quick 15-2 run that stretched the lead to 39-24. The Greyhounds could only counter with three free throws, which IHCC quickly answered with field goals as the Warriors scored eight of the final 11 points in the opening half to take a 47-27 lead into the break.
“Our guys have done a good job of scoring off stops all season long,” Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery said. “There were a couple of windows that opened up for us where we could get some offense going. We were able to sting them and get them back on their heels enough to give ourselves a nice gap.”
Ronald Ross opened the second half with a deep 3-pointer, extending the game’s biggest run out to 26-5 and IHCC’s biggest lead out to 50-27. One night after hitting the game-winning trey at the buzzer of the Warriors’ 80-77 win at Marshalltown, Ross nailed four of his seven looks from beyond the arc while joining Jelan Kendrick with 16 points for IHCC.
“Hitting that last shot (on Saturday) gave me a little more confidence, but I also know every game is a different game,” Ross said. “You can’t go off your last game, you have to go out and play every game. My main thing was to come out in focus, don’t worry about the last game and do what I had to do to win this game.”
IHCC led by as much as 24 in the second half and held off a much more productive Moberly squad. Mike Anderson led the 18-5 Greyhounds, pouring in 17 of his game-high 21 points while grabbing 10 rebounds for a double-double as Moberly doubled their first-half scoring output with 54 points in the final 20 minutes.
Brennen Hughes added 18 points for the Greyhounds, including a lay-up that got Moberly as close as 13 with just 38 seconds to go. IHCC got 15 points by Dustin Hogue and 10 from Frank Williams to cap an all-around balanced effort for the Warriors’ offense.
“For us to be able to score that many points (94) against a Moberly team that has been playing pretty well defensively all year was a surprise, but I think our guys showed up ready to play,” Peery said. “I just wanted to see us play hard for 40 minutes and I think we did a good job of that.”
Sixth-ranked Indian Hills (22-2) begins the second half of Region XI regular-season play on Saturday after a perfect 4-0 first half. The Warriors will look to protect their spot alone atop the region by hosting Northeast, the Nebraska newcomer that will be arriving at the Hellyer Center for the first time as a regional rival.
“This is very good momentum for us. The next game is the most important one because it is a regional game,” Peery said. “This was a big game to get even if though it’s not as important as Saturday’s game. Moberly’s a well-respected opponent.”
Saturday’s game will also be ‘Maroon Night.’ Fans are encouraged to wear their maroon-colored Warrior gear to the game.
No. 6 (DI) Indian Hills 94, Moberly Area (Mo.) 81
Moberly (81) — Mike Anderson 21, Brennen Hughes 18, Trent Washington 14, Rayshawn Simmons 6, Zeke Williams 5, Malcolm Hamilton 4, Kevin Jordan 4, T.J. White 4, Evan Singletary 3, Kwai Pearson 2. Totals 29-72 17-25 81.
3-point goals — 6-19 (Washington 3-4, Anderson 2-5, Simmons 1-4, Pearson 0-1, White 0-1, Singletary 0-2, Williams 0-2). Rebounds — 45 (Anderson 10, Hughes 9, White 7, Jordan 6, Simmons 3, Washington 3, Hamilton 2, Pearson 2, Williams 2, Singletary). Assists — 21 (Simmons 4, White 4, Anderson 3, Washington 3, Hamilton 2, Pearson 2, Hughes, Singletary, Williams). Steals — 8 (Anderson 2, Simmons 2, Hamilton, Jordan, Singletary, White). Blocks — 0. Total fouls — 18. Turnovers — 18.
IHCC (94) — Jameel McKay 19, Jelan Kendrick 16, Ronald Ross 16, Dustin Hogue 15, Frank Williams 10, Richard Amardi 8, Gary Williams, Jr. 6, Majok Deng 2, Rawane Ndiaye 2. Totals 33-67 20-24 94.
3-point goals — 8-24 (Ross 4-7, Williams 2-8, Kendrick 1-1, Hogue 1-3, Amardi 0-1, Deng 0-2, Williams, Jr. 0-2). Fouled out — Ndiaye. Rebounds — 39 (Kendrick 8, McKay 6, Amardi 5, Hogue 5, Deng 4, Ndiaye 4, Ross 3, Williams, Jr. 3, Williams). Assists — 29 (Kendrick 9, Hogue 6, Ross 5, McKay 3, Williams, Jr. 3, Williams 2, Amardi). Steals — 9 (Amardi 2, Kendrick 2, Ross 2, Deng, Hogue, Williams, Jr.). Blocks — 4 (McKay 2, Kendrick, Ndiaye). Total fouls — 19. Turnovers — 14.
Halftime: Indian Hills 47, Moberly Area 27