Courier Sports Staff
NORFOLK, Nebraska —
A new venue. A new opponent.
Same dominant Warriors in Region XI play.
Indian Hills welcomed the newest member of the region, Northeast, the only way Barret Peery knows how. The 10th-ranked Warriors ran out to an early lead and kept on running past the Hawks, opening their defense of the regional title on Wednesday with an impressive 120-89 win at the Cox Activities Center in Nebraska.
“I thought the guys showed up and played a good game,” Peery said. “They set the tone right away and never let up.”
Wednesday’s regional opener marked the fifth straight road game for IHCC. Keeping a common theme during that stretch, the Warriors showed no nerves early on in a hostile environment, as the Warriors jumped out to a 9-2 run in the opening three minutes.
Sophomore Dustin Hogue was at the center of the strong first half, putting up one of his most productive opening halves of his Warriors career. Hogue struck early with a pair of slam dunks and hit all seven of his shots in the opening 20 minutes, carrying a game-high 16 points into the locker room.
“We called his number early on in the game and Dustin certainly responded,” Peery said. “He really produced, especially on the glass, and took advantage of every opportunity he got.”
Hogue’s first-half productivity was equaled by a strong second half from fellow sophomore Jelan Kendrick. The Ole Miss transfer hit seven field goals of his own after the break, leading to a game-high 22 points with several baskets coming early on to help keep Northeast from being able to chip away at a 61-35 halftime deficit.
The Warriors keyed their dominance throughout the night by crashing the glass, coming up with 31 offensive rebounds, with helped lead to 31 more field goal attempts for IHCC.
By the end of the night, Indian Hills had a 59-39 rebounding edge and 104 shots from the field — 50 of which went in.
“Size was a big issue in this one. We really owned the glass,” Peery said. “We did a good job controlling the basketball and getting a number of looks, which helped us keep control of the tempo.”
A run of nine unanswered points helped the Warriors establish a double-digit lead late in the first half the Warriors wouldn’t give up as IHCC used a 27-9 run to cap the first half. Despite a hot start to the second half by Northeast freshman Khapri Alston, who hit nine of his 11 shots and scored 18 points after being shutout in the opening half, the Hawks (13-7, 1-1) never got closer than 20 points as IHCC nearly equaled their offensive output in the final 20 minutes.
“We talked at halftime that wanted to have good momemtum going into our next game,” Peery said. “We went into the second half looking to prepare for what’s ahead on our schedule.”
What’s ahead for No. 10 IHCC (18-2, 2-0) is a top-10 showdown with the top teams that battled for the Region XI title last year. Third-ranked Iowa Western, who is off to a school-record 19-0 start to their season, puts their perfect record on the line as IHCC returns home for the first time in just over a month on Saturday night.
“Iowa Western has more size and a lot more experience,” Peery said of the Reivers. “We know them very well and they know us after playing them four times last year. It should be a tough, tough game.”
The game is being promoted as a “Blackout” night in which all Warrior fans are encouraged to wear black at the Hellyer Student Life Center with the tip-off set for 7 p.m. The dark-clad Warrior faithful will be a sight for sore eyes for Peery and the Warriors.
“I think the guys are really looking forward to getting back on our home floor and playing in front of our home fans,” Peery said.
No. 10 (DI) INDIAN HILLS 120, NORTHEAST 89
IHCC (120) — Jelan Kendrick 22, Dustin Hogue 18, Ronald Ross 13, Gary Williams, Jr. 12, Majok Deng 11, Jameel McKay 11, Richard Amardi 10, Frank Williams 10, Trinson White 9, Rawane Ndiaye 4. Totals 50-104 13-19 120.
3-point goals — 7-21 (R. Ross 3-6). Rebounds — 59 (Amardi 10). Assists — 34 (R. Ross 7, Williams, Jr. 7). Steals — 17 (Amardi 4). Blocks — 5 (McKay 3). Total fouls — 11. Turnovers — 16.
Northeast (89) — Sean Scott 19, Khapri Alston 18, K.J. Bluford 11, Oral Rahming 10, Kyle Kilgore 8, Sean McGary 8, Jabbar Washington 6, Corey Mitchell 3, Blake Heppner 2, Rashad Fairley 2, J.R. Tolliver 2. Totals 37-73 9-12 89.
3-point goals — 6-22 (Bluford 3-12). Rebounds — 39 (Kilgore 6). Assists — 26 (McGary 6). Steals — 9 (Kilgore 3). Blocks — 3 (Alston, Fairley, Scott). Total fouls — 12. Turnovers — 28.
Halftime: Indian Hills 61, Northeast 35