Scottsbluff, Nebraska -- Indian Hills couldn't hold on to double-digit leads they built in both halves and dropped a game to Western Nebraska on Friday night in overtime. WNCC's Bryce Sanchious hit a shot off a missed attempt with 3.5 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the score at 77-77. Then, it took IHCC until less than a minute was left in the five-minute OT session before getting a field goal and the Cougars claimed the win, 89-81.
Western Nebraska ran off nine consecutive points to start overtime, the first two on a pair of free throws by Martin Roub. Jervay Green, who led all scorers with 31 points, hit two free throws to provide the final margin.
Indian Hills, which was so good at the start of the second half -- ripping off 11 straight points -- couldn't match that success in OT. Tyon Grant-Foster hit a free throw with 45.3 seconds to play for the first IHCC point in overtime. Iziah James, the Warriors' scoring leader with 19, hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 86-81 with 37 seconds on the clock. But the Warriors didn't score again in taking their second loss of the season in seven games.
Midway through the opening period Torrey Patton gave Indian Hills a 29-18 lead. WNCC battled back to tie the score at 36-all. Billy Thomas and Devontae Lane each hit a three over the final minutes of the half to let IHCC get even, 42-42, at intermission.
The Warriors exploded for 11 points in a row to begin the final half, hitting four straight field goal attempts. Thomas had a 3-pointer and a layup, James and Tomas Woldetensae each drilled a three and it was 53-42. Green got the Cougars untracked, scoring their next nine points and getting his team back in the game.
Tyler Chisom made consecutive field goals to put IHCC in front 70-56 with eight minutes to play, but, again, it was Green that brought WNCC back with four quick points.
Green's free throw at the two-minute mark broke a 73-73 tie. Lane hit a driving layup and Anthony Bratton scored inside to give IHCC a 77-74 advantage with around a minute to play. Green again made one of two free throws to make it a two-point game. A costly turnover on the Warriors' next possession led to the final chance for the Cougars and Sanchious followed a blocked shot attempt on a Green drive with the putback to force OT.
Indian Hills attempted 39 threes and made 13. However, the only made three for the Warriors after they hit their first three shots from behind the arc in the second half was James's in overtime.
Thomas scored 14 points, Patton had 13 and a team-high 11 rebounds and Lane added a season-best 11 points for the Warriors. Western Nebraska, which used only six players, got 19 from Roub and 13 by their lone reserve, Elie Cadet.
The Warriors will have a quick turnaround, taking on Trinidad State, winners of eight straight games, in an afternoon contest on Saturday. They'll get a shot to avenge the loss to Western Nebraska when the Cougars play in Ottumwa on Dec. 14.
WESTERN NEBRASKA 89, INDIAN HILLS 81 (OT)
INDIAN HILLS (5-2)
Devontae Lane 4 2-4 11, Lance Singh 2 0-0 5, Billy Thomas 5 0-0 14, Iziah James 7 1-2 19, Nick Wagner 0 0-0 0, Tyon Grant-Foster 0 1-2 1, Tomas Woldetensae 3 0-0 8, JD Muila 2 0-1 4, Anthony Bratton 1 0-0 2, Tyler Chisom 2 0-0 4, Torrey Patton 5 2-2 13 Team 31 6-11 81
WESTERN NEBRASKA (7-2)
Jervay Green 11 7-14 31, Dru Kuxhausen 2 0-0 5, Bryce Sanchious 3 2-4 10, Martin Roub 7 2-3 19, Henry Tanksley 3 3-3 10, Elie Cadet 5 3-4 13 Team 32 18-28 89
Halftime score: IHCC 42, WNCC 42; End of regulation: IHCC 77, WNCC 77; Three-point field goals: IHCC 13 (Thomas 4, James 4, Woldetensae 2, Lane 1, Singh 1, Patton 1), WNCC 7 (Roub 3, Green 2, Kuxhausen 1, Tanksley 1)