Courier sports staff
NORFOLK, Neb. — It’s the longest trip the Indian Hills basketball team has to make in regional play all season.
It was made even longer than usual on Wednesday night thanks to plenty of contact, plenty of whistles and plenty of fouls called.
After beating Northeast earlier this season by 43 points and opening a 30-point lead in the first half in the rematch Wednesday on the Hawks’ home floor, the third-ranked (DI) Warriors had to hold on to the bitter end to earn a regional win. IHCC held off several charges throughout the second half by the hosting Hawks and overcame 73 combined foul calls and well over 100 free throw attempts to gain a rugged 124-115 win at the Cox Activities Center.
It’s been a season filled with many eye-popping numbers on the postgame stat sheets for Indian Hills. It wasn’t hard to find a few more final totals that stood out Wednesday for Warrior head coach Barret Peery after the game with Hawks.
“We had 57 free throw attempts. They had 65. We had 40 fouls called on us. They had 33,” Peery said. “We had two officials that have never seen us play before. I don’t want to put it on anybody, but if you haven’t seen our style it can be tough to keep with us. I think that really impacted the pace.
“We had 124 points and it just never felt like we could get a flow going in this game. It was definitely an unusual game.”
How unusual? How about nearly two full teams worth of players fouling out as IHCC lost five players to five fouls on Wednesday while Northeast lost four.
Indian Hills never trailed on Wednesday night as eight different Warriors scored the first 24 IHCC points of the game. Marcus Posley kicked off his team-leading 23-point effort by draining back-to-back 3-pointers and would hit five straight from beyond the arc as a 19-2 run midway through the half lifted the Warriors to a 52-25 advantage.
Roosevelt Scott added 11 of his 22 points in the opening half as the Warriors eventually doubled up the Hawks at 60-30 late in the half. The tone of the game was set early on, however, as the two teams went to halftime having been whistled for 36 fouls with Northeast drawing 31 free throw attempts in the first 20 minutes.
Freshmen Chima Moneke and Dionte Smith stepped in a big way throughout the night for Northeast. Moneke had 12 of his 26 points in the first half and helped spark a 23-9 run that carried over into the second half, pulling Northeast (13-11, 0-5) within 16 points.
No player had a bigger night than Smith. Averaging just three points a game entering Wednesday, Smith went off for a career-high 28 points including 21 in the second half as Northeast got as close as 10 at 114-104 after Akolda Manyang fouled out on a Smith basket.
With several teammates fouling out, Lester Medford stepped up to seal the Warrior win. The future Baylor Bear had a step-back 3-pointer and a teardrop runner to answer a pair of charges by the Hawks before hitting several free throws in the final minutes to ice the victory.
“He had to handle the ball and handle the situation late,” Peery said of Medford. “We got several turnovers once again and several assists on our field goals. Even with some of the foul difficulty, I think the guys really kept doing what we wanted to do on either side of the court.”
No. 3 Indian Hills (22-2, 4-1) will return home for a rare non-regional matchup Saturday at home against Clinton starting at 7 p.m.
No. 3 (DI) INDIAN HILLS 124, NORTHEAST 115
IHCC 68 56 — 124
NECC 45 70 — 115
Indian Hills (124) — Marcus Posley 23, Roosevelt Scott 22, Lester Medford 21, Akolda Manyang 17, Roderick Bobbitt 14, Jordan Washington 9, Malik Dime 8, Qiydar Davis 5, Majok Deng 3, James Harris, Jr. 2. Totals 39-78 37-57 124.
3-point goals — 9-25 (Posley 5-9). Fouled out — Bobbitt, Dime, Harris, Jr., Manyang, Scott. Rebounds — 51 (Medford 8, Washington 8). Assists — 31 (Harris, Jr. 7, Medford 7). Steals — 12 (Bobbitt 4). Blocks — 6 (Manyang 3). Total fouls — 40 (Technicals – Manyang). Turnovers — 17.
Northeast (115) — Dionte Smith 28, Chima Moneke 26, Buay Tuach 20, Sheed Fairley 11, Anthony Woods 11, Khaphri Alston 9, Oral Rahming 6, Jabbar Washington 4. Totals 39-73 33-65 115.
3-point goals — 4-12 (Tauch 4-9). Fouled out — Alston, Fairley, Moneke, Washington. Rebounds — 45 (Moneke 9). Assists — 30 (Woods 9). Steals — 8 (Washington 3). Blocks — 4 (Washington 2). Total fouls — 33. Turnovers — 23.