By SCOTT JACKSON
Courier sports writer
---- — OTTUMWA — It was the lowest scoring half of basketball second-ranked Indian Hills has had so far this season.
It was quickly followed by the highest scoring half yet this year.
A slow start against Barton in the Bowling R.V. Classic left IHCC with a 14-point halftime lead, but just 38 first-half points as the Warriors were held below 40 in a half for the first all year. Indian Hills then cranked up the pace by shooting 56 percent in the second half, allowing the Warriors to nearly double their first half production with 69 points coming out of the locker room, helping IHCC pull away for a 107-80 win over the program the Warriors beat for their last national title.
“Coaches just kept telling us to humble and stay hungry,” sophomore Qiydar Davis said. “We just had to stick with it in the second half. We definitely were not satisfied. We had to lift each other up and be there for each other.”
Pacing the Warriors second-half resurgence was another sophomore transfer. Marcus Posley, who was limited with a cold shooting touch and foul trouble in the opening 20 minutes, had the Hellyer Student Life Center rocking in the second half with five 3-pointers to help produce a team-best 18 points.
Posley really shook the rafters midway through the second half, burying three consecutive 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions. The third and final 3-pointer helped IHCC open a 31-point lead on Barton and sent the Warrior fans into a frenzy.
“All it is about is finding a rhythm. You always want to hit shots, so the more and more you get that rhythm the easier those shots start to become,” Posley said. “Once you get more confidence, the shots just start falling more and more, but it’s amazing when you start hitting one shot after another. Who knows what would have happened if I had hit four or five in a row.”
“(Marcus) has that ability to shoot the ball. We’ve seen it all fall so far,” IHCC head coach Barret Peery said of Posley. “Our guys did a great job sharing the ball. We were great on the offensive glass with 28 offensive rebounds. We forced 30 turnovers. Those are the stats I look at to determine how good a night we had.”
Fans at the Hellyer Center had been looking most of the night for a reason to cheer. The first half saw both teams struggle to get any kind of a rhythm going with the Warriors needing almost four full minutes just to connect on its first field goal.
“We just missed some really good shots, but I think our guys were playing the correct way,” Peery said. “In that first half, it was a little flat. It just seemed like we couldn’t get it going at the right time and when it was time to make shots to really get it rolling, we just couldn’t do it.”
“It was all about coming out with a high intensity. I just think we came out sluggish instead,” Posley added.
The more defensive-minded opening half did all Warrior freshmen Malik Dime to shine. Dime set an early tone for Barton’s interior shooting struggles, spiking two early shots to the floor on the way to a 10-point, eight-rebound, five-block opening half.
“He really does change the game,” Peery said of Dime. “As we funnel the ball to the rim, Jordan Washington A.K. (Akolda Manyang) and Malik all do a great job of protecting that rim (on defense).”
Ironically, it was Barton that may have done the most to spark IHCC’s offense. The Cougars opened the second half scoring five quick points by playing an up-tempo style after scoring just 24 points on 24 percent shooting.
The Warriors were more than happy to match the tone. The guard play of the Warriors came up huge as Roosevelt Scott put in 15 points while Lester Medford and Quevyn Winters joined Dime with 10 points in the game to get IHCC back in its customary faster flow of offense.
“We just missed some shots (in the first half) that we’re supposed to make,” Davis said after producing eight points from his wing position for the Warriors. “We came out and did what we do best (in the second half). It’s easy playing with this team. We all share the ball and we all attack the basket. It’s a lot of fun to play that way.”
“Lester and Rod(erick) were all doing a great job finding me with good passes. I can’t say I did it myself. It was all about my teammates finding me to get me going,” Posley added.
Tyler Corley paced all scorers in the game, scoring 20 points for Barton despite being into seven turnovers. Isaac Williams came on early in the second half to score 13 of his 18 points for the Cougars in the second half as Barton more than doubled their first-half point total with 56 in the second half.
“It was a little bit of historic game, but Barton’s going to have a great year,” Peery said. “They’ve got a great coach and great players. They’re going to have a great season.”
Barton (6-3) will look to get back to building on a successful season today, facing Marshalltown (3-3) in the opening game of today’s Bowling R.V. Classic action starting at 4:30 p.m. No. 2 IHCC (6-0) will then face off with Missouri State-West Plains, who improved to 6-2 on the season after beating Marshalltown 89-80 in the tournament’s opening game Friday.
“It’s the closest thing to us we’ve seen all season,” Peery said. “We may not see the same type of style, but we’ll see a team that has the same bodies as us and the same depth. We’re really going to have be on our game.”
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