Ottumwa -- On a night when 10 sophomores were honored before the contest began, Indian Hills led by 14 at intermission and by the same margin at the final buzzer, the Warriors tying Southeastern for the ICCAC regular-season championship with a convincing 91-77 win over Iowa Western at the Hellyer Center Saturday.
It was a crucial victory for the Warriors, not only because it kept alive their streak of winning outright or tying for the league championship -- a streak now at 11 years in a row -- but, maybe more importantly, it means IHCC will have homecourt advantage as long as they are alive in the postseason tourney. The semifinals will be on Wednesday with Indian Hills playing the winner of Monday's Marshalltown-Northeast game, and Iowa Western going to Southeastern. The winners meet Saturday.
IHCC took its 7th straight victory against Iowa Western, trailing only once all night long. That was when it was 14-13 on a couple of free throws by Travon Broadway. Nick Wagner, who pumped in 15 points, came back with a long-range three and three foul shots after getting fouled on another 3-point try and the Warriors were off on a 12-run. Tomas Woldetensae scored on back-to-back hoops and Tyler Chisom tallied his only bucket of the night and the lead grew to 25-14.
The Reivers got as close as four twice later in the half, but it was 46-32 at the break and the margin was double-digits nearly the entire second half. A Christian Bentley free throw with a little more than two minutes to play cut the deficit to 82-73. Woldetensae, held without a 3-pointer up until then, banked one in from the top of the key to push the advantage back to 12 and IHCC was home free. For Woldetensae, it was his 100th three of the season, two shy of the school record, and gives him at least one made 3-pointer in all 28 games he's played this year, plus the final five games of his freshman campaign, the 33 in a row also a school record.
IHCC freshman JD Muila turned in his second solid game in three nights, scoring 10 points and snaring 15 rebounds, matching the double-double he had against Triton Thursday. Torrey Patton topped the Warriors with 20.
Bentley had a game-high 26 for the Reivers.
Indian Hills ends the regular season 25-5, 7-1 in the conference.
INDIAN HILLS 91, IOWA WESTERN 77
INDIAN HILLS (25-5, 7-1)
Devontae Lane 1 7-8 9, Billy Thomas 0 0-0 0, Iziah James 3 4-4 11, Nick Wagner 4 3-3 15, Tyon Grant-Foster 5 0-0 12, Tomas Woldetensae 4 0-0 9, Tajim Smith 0 0-0 0, JD Muila 5 0-2 10, Tyler Chisom 1 3-4 5, Torrey Patton 4 11-13 20 Team 27 28-34 91
IOWA WESTERN (21-8, 2-6)
Travon Broadway 6 4-5 19, Emmanuel Ugboh 5 1-4 11, Caleb Huffman 1 0-0 3, Christian Bentley 7 9-13 26, Parker Hazen 3 0-0 6, Seneca Louis 1 1-2 4, Amadou Sylla 0 0-0 0, Willard Anderson 2 0-0- 6, Esahia Nyiwe 1 0-0 2 Team 26 15-24 77
Halftime score: Indian Hills 46, Iowa Western 32; Three-point field goals: IHCC 9 (Wagner 4, Grant-Foster 2, James 1, Woldetensae 1, Patton 1), IWCC 10 (Broadway 3, Bentley 3, Anderson 2, Huffman 1, Louis 1)