Ottumwa -- Facing their final non-conference contest of the regular season, against a red-hot Triton (Ill.) College team, Indian Hills grabbed the lead for good with around six minutes to play and held on to knock off the Trojans, 100-90, at the Hellyer Center on Thursday night. The victory stopped Triton's 18-game winning streak and helped the Warriors erase a little bit of the sting of a loss to Southeastern CC their last time out.
IHCC didn't trail until Triton's Ralph Cruz hit consecutive buckets -- one of them a three -- with 13 minutes remaining. After Cruz's second FG, the score was tied five times and the lead see-sawed back and forth over the next seven minutes. Tomas Woldetensae's layup put Indian Hills in front 80-79 and the Warriors never trailed again. Devontae Lane followed the Woldetensae basket with a 3-point play and they held off the visitors with key field goals by Woldetensae and Nick Wagner and clutch free-throw shooting in the game's last five minutes.
Wagner's fourth triple of the game provided the clinching blow for IHCC, a corner three with 1:05 on the clock.
Woldetensae also knocked down four 3-pointers and the Warriors sank 11, the 18th time in 29 games they hit 10 or more.
All five starters had a field goal in IHCC's 11-7 start, the team showing no ill effects of the loss at SCC five nights before. The lead quickly grew to 24-12 and after a Triton surge allowed them to trail by only four the Warriors expanded the difference to eight by the half.
The Trojans got five points to begin the final half but JD Muila came to life for IHCC. The freshman had only one field goal at halftime, but scored his team's first three buckets of the second half. He wound up with 13 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in arguably his best performance of the season.
Woldetensae led Indian Hills with 24 points; Torrey Patton added 19 and Wagner threw in 14.
Alondes Williams paced Triton with 22 and Cruz and Quinlan Bennett each scored 17.
Triton hadn't lost since Dec. 14 and it was only their 3rd defeat for the year.
The Warriors have a chance to gain a piece of their 11th consecutive conference regular-season title when they host Iowa Western on Saturday. A victory would let IHCC host the league postseason championship contest if they can win the semifinal game next Wednesday.
INDIAN HILLS 100, TRITON 90
INDIAN HILLS (24-5)
Devontae Lane 2 7-9 11, Billy Thomas 2 1-1 6, Iziah James 1 0-0 3, Nick Wagner 5 0-0 14, Tyon Grant-Foster 1 4-4 6, Tomas Woldetensae 7 6-6 24, Tajim Smith 0 0-0 0, JD Muila 6 1-3 13, Tyler Chisom 1 2-2 4, Torrey Patton 7 4-7 19 Team 32 25-32 100
Alondes Williams 7 6-7 22, Quinlan Bennett 6 3-4 17, Jalen Shaw 2 0-3 4, Ralph Cruz 5 5-6 17, Najee Brown-Henderson 6 1-2 16, Trevell Cunningham 1 1-2 4, Jalen Stephens-Holmes 5 0-1 10 Team 32 16-25 90
Halftime score: Indian Hills 49, Triton 41; Three-point field goals: IHCC 11 (Wagner 4, Woldetensae 4, Thomas 1, James 1, Patton 1), TC 10 (Brown-Henderson 3, Williams 2, Bennett 2, Cruz 2, Cunningham 1)