Ottumwa -- When his team fell behind by nine points just over three minutes into the second half on Tuesday night, it looked like Hank Plona might have to wait for another night to record his 100th victory as head coach at Indian Hills. But the Warriors overcame that 55-46 deficit and pulled out a hard-fought 94-83 decision against Southwestern to give their coach his milestone win.
Indian Hills didn't take the lead for good until Tyler Chisom's three-point play made it 67-64, yet it was still a three-point game -- the Warriors on top 83-80 -- with three minutes remaining. Nick Wagner's shot in the lane built the lead to five, Tomas Woldetensae -- who enjoyed a career night with seven 3-pointers and 28 points -- hit his final three and Chisom scored inside to give the Warriors some breathing room on the way to their ninth win of the season.
Woldetensae drilled his first four 3-point tries in the opening half, then tallied 16 of his points in the last period. Chisom poured in 13 in the last 20 minutes and wound up with 19.
The Warriors jumped out to an early 12-2 advantage after back-to-back 3s by Iziah James and Wagner. Southwestern (10-3) overcame a slow start thanks to the trio of Ryan Warren, Gatdoar Kueth and Chad Moran, who combined to score 37 of their team's 43 first-half points. Kueth gave the Spartans their first lead at 25-24 and shortly after that there was a remarkable stretch in which the two teams scored all their points on eight consecutive 3-pointers -- five of them by the Warriors, three by Woldetensae. Jordan Doss had two of Southwestern's treys in that run. By the time that shooting exhibition was finished IHCC was up 40-36. Warren stopped the 3-point explosion with a two-point bucket, but the Warriors' Devontae Lane connected on a 3-point play. That made it a five-point Indian Hills lead before the Spartans got even by intermission on a goal by Moran and another three from Warren.
Kueth broke the 43-all deadlock to begin the second half and Wagner buried a three for the Warriors. Those were the only points for IHCC, however, in the first 3:30 of the final period. A 10-0 Spartan run gave them their nine-point bulge.
Woldetensae revived the IHCC offense with five quick points. The margin was no larger than four points for the next six minutes until James' basket put Indian Hills on top by five. Still, the Warriors weren't able to put the visitors away until a 7-0 run around the two-minute mark -- the buckets by Wagner and Chisom around Woldetensae's seventh triple of the night.
Warren led Southwestern with 23 points and Kueth and Moran pumped in 16 each.
Plona reached the 100-win mark in his fourth season and his 114th game at IHCC. He joins Terry Carroll (269) and Jeff Kidder (165) as the only Indian Hills coaches with at least 100 victories.
The Warriors will conclude the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a pair of games in this weekend's HyVee Classic. They'll take on Western Nebraska Friday night and Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa the following evening.
INDIAN HILLS 94, SOUTHWESTERN 83
INDIAN HILLS (9-3)
Devontae Lane 4 3-5 11, Lance Singh 1 0-0 2, Iziah James 3 4-4 12, Nick Wagner 3 0-0 8, Tyon Grant-Foster 2 0-0 5, Tomas Woldetensae 9 3-3 28, Josh Nicholas 1 0-0 2, Tajim Smith 1 0-0 2, JD Muila 1 0-0 2, Anthony Bratton 1 1-2 3, Tyler Chisom 8 3-4 19, Torrey Patton 0 0-0 0 Team 34 14-18 94
D'Marqueyon Whittington 3 2-2 10, Ryan Warren 9 1-2 23, Gatdoar Kueth 7 2-2 16, Chad Moran 6 3-4 16, Brandon Reed 0 0-0 0, Noah Persich 1 2-2 4, Rasheed Barze 2 0-0 4, Jordan Doss 2 0-0 6, Jadon Payton 1 1-2 4 Team 31 11-14 83
Halftime score: Indian Hills 43, Southwestern 43; Three-point field goals: IHCC 12 (Woldetensae 7, James 2, Wagner 2, Grant-Foster 1), SWCC 10 (Warren 4, Whittington 2, Doss 2, Moran 1, Payton 1)