Ottumwa -- Nick Wagner helped Indian Hills overcome a slow start, his 24 points leading the Warriors to a 99-84 non-conference win against North Central Missouri on Wednesday night at the Hellyer Center. It was IHCC's 11 win in a row.
Fourteen of Wagner's scoring total came in the first half, when North Central Missouri led by as many as 11 points. His 3-pointer early in the second half gave the Warriors a brief lead, and after NCMC's Soloman Thomas tied the score at 58, Tyon Grant-Foster put Indian Hills ahead for good. Grant-Foster's bucket was followed by one by Tomas Woldetensae, who then hit back-to-back threes to allow IHCC to get some breathing room.
But the Warriors never could muster a run that would put the game completely out of reach. Wagner drilled his 4th triple to push the lead to 15, but it didn't grow any larger than that until a 16-point advantage in the final minute.
Torrey Patton and Wagner combined for 24 of the IHCC points in a first period that ended with Iziah James splashing home a three to pull the Warriors to within 49-48 at intermission. The Pirates took a 29-18 lead midway through a half where the Warriors didn't have many answers for the Pirates defensively.
When the deficit reached dougle digits, Patton made four straight free throws, Wagner sank a three and Patton connected on a layup to get IHCC back to within four points. They then dug out of an eight-point hole to finish the half on the James field goal, the only shot this week's ICCAC Division I player of the week made in the opening 20 minutes.
The Pirates drained seven 3-pointers in the first half, but only one in the second.
Woldetensae had a quiet opening period for IHCC with just one basket. He tallied 15 second-half points, including a pair of treys to up his season total to 91.
Patton wound up with 20 points, 10 in each half.
Marty Jackson, NCMC's 6-6 freshman, had 12 of his game-high 25 points in the first 4:44, outscoring the entire IHCC team to that point, 12-9. Jordan Reece added 18 to the Pirates' total.
Indian Hills made all 13 of its free-throw attempts in the second half and was 23-of-26 for the night.
With their record now 23-4 the Warriors set their sights on Saturday's trip to West Burlington and a matchup against Southeastern CC with first place on the line in the ICCAC. Indian Hills is 6-0, a half game in front of the Blackhawks' 6-1 mark. An IHCC win would clinch an 11th-straight conference regular season championship.
INDIAN HILLS 99, NORTH CENTRAL MISSOURI 84
INDIAN HILLS (23-4, 6-0)
Lance Singh 2 2-2 7, Billy Thomas 0 0-0 0, Iziah James 3 2-2 10, Nick Wagner 9 2-2 24, Tyon Grant-Foster 3 1-2 7, Tomas Woldetensae 4 7-7 17, Josh Nicholas 1 0-0 3, Tajim Smith 0 0-0 0, JD Muila 1 1-2 3, Tyler Chisom 3 2-3 8, Torrey Patton 7 6-6 20 Team 33 23-26 99
NORTH CENTRAL MISSOURI (13-11)
Soloman Thomas 4 2-2 10, Jordan Reece 8 2-2 18, Marty Jackson 9 5-7 25, Yacento Scott Jr. 0 0-0 0, Jake Salisbury 3 0-0 8, Calvin Heidenwith 1 0-0 2, Jaran Richards 2 4-4 9, Michael Horton 0 1-2 1, Emil Spriggs 4 0-0 11 Team 31 14-17 84
Halftime score: NCMC 49, Indian Hills 48; Three-point field goals: IHCC 10 (Wagner 4, Woldetensae 2, James 2, Singh 1, Nicholas 1), NCMC 8 (Spriggs 3, Jackson 2, Salisbury 2, Richman 1)