Ottumwa -- As the Indian Hills fans walked out of the Hellyer Center on Saturday night you could almost hear a collective sigh of relief. The IHCC faithful had just watched the Warriors score 45 fewer points than they put up in the season opener the night before, yet still manage to hold off upset-minded Independence (Kans.) CC, 58-53.
The season's second win wasn't secure until Devontae Lane made two free throws, on two separate trips to the line, in the final minute. The scoresheet shows how much free throws were a key to the IHCC victory -- they made 19-of-33 for the game while Independence took just two foul shots in 40 minutes. The 17 field goals made by the Warriors were the fewest in a game in eight years. Still, they pulled out the win with a strong defensive effort.
Nick Wagner's bucket late in the opening half allowed Indian Hills to take a slim 25-24 lead into intermission. The Warriors opened up double-digit advantages twice in the second half, only to see the Pirates battle back.
A 42-32 IHCC lead was quickly cut in half by a 6-0 ICC run. Later, the Warriors went on top 52-40 before Indy once again ran off six points in a row. Independence got to within 56-53 with 56.2 seconds to play. Lane was fouled on IHCC's next possession and made one free throw after the Warriors held the ball for 20 seconds. Lance Singh blocked a 3-point attempt as the Pirates tried to get to within a point and Lane accounted for the final margin with another foul shot with 12 seconds left.
JD Muila helped Indian Hills survive, scoring eight of his team-high 11 points in the second half. He made five of the Warriors' 17 field goals. And he grabbed 10 rebounds. Tomas Woldetensae added 10 points.
Indy's Tonje Durham led all scorers with 19.
The Warriors hit five 3-pointers in the first half and none in the second. Independence had only three 3s for the game.
Indian Hills will play its third consecutive game against a Kansas team when it travels to take on No. 4-ranked Coffeyville next Saturday night in the first road test of the year.
INDIAN HILLS 58, INDEPENDENCE 53
Devontae Lane 3 2-7 9, Lance Singh 2 3-3 9, Billy Thomas 0 0-0 0, Iziah James 1 2-2 4, Nick Wagner 1 0-0 2, Tyon Grant-Foster 2 3-6 8, Tomas Woldetensae 2 5-6 10, Josh Nicholas 1 3-5 5, Tajim Smith 0 0-0 0, JD Muila 5 1-4 11, Anthony Bratton 0 0-0 0, Tyler Chison 0 0-0 0 Team 17 19-33 58
Kofi Maze 1 0-0 2, Ricky Edwards 4 0-2 10, Alex Torres 1 0-0 2, Derrick Redmon 0 0-0 0, Tonje Durham 9 0-0 19, Anquaevious Pollard 1 0-0 2, Mamady Djikine 3 0-0 6, Tyreece Berry 0 0-0 0, Sean Pollack 1 0-0 2, Jibril Harris 5 0-0 10 Team 25 0-2 53
Halftime score: Indian Hills 25, Independence 24; Three-point field goals: IHCC 5 (Singh 2, Lane 1, Grant-Foster 1, Woldetensae 1), ICC 3 (Edwards 2, Durham 1)