Ottumwa -- Indian Hills and Western Nebraska -- two nationally-ranked teams that played in the national tournament last March -- met for the second time this season on Friday night at the Hellyer Center. And now each team has an eight-point victory against the other, the latest IHCC's 94-86 come-from-behind win in the HyVee Classic. The Warriors felt like they let a possible win slip away when they played at Western Nebraska three weeks earlier, the Cougars overcoming a 14-point IHCC advantage in the second half to win in overtime, 89-81. This time, it was Indian Hills that played the comeback card, trailing for a good portion of the contest's first 33 minutes before taking charge.
Western Nebraska made four straight foul shots to pull to within 86-83 with 3:15 to play. Tyon Grant-Foster hit the biggest of IHCC's 10 3-pointers for the game less than a minute later and Tyler Chisom's driving bucket 35 seconds after that effectively put the Cougars away, making it a three-possession game with under two minutes left.
Chisom and Tomas Woldetensae combined for 42 Warrior points, including all nine in a run that erased a 61-53 Cougar lead. Woldetensae wound up with 22 and Chisom 20 for an Indian Hills team that improved its season mark to 10-3 and snapped a nine-game WNCC winning streak.
There were four lead changes after IHCC grabbed the 62-61 lead thanks to their two scoring leaders. Grant-Foster's first three put Indian Hills ahead, 72-71, before Western Nebraska took its last lead at 73-72. Chisom and Woldetensae had back-to-back buckets around the seven-minute mark and the Warriors didn't trail again although they couldn't relax until their three free throws in the last 30 seconds.
Western Nebraska came out on fire. They hit two quick 3-pointers to lead 6-0. IHCC responded with four straight two-point field goals for its first advantage, but not long after that the Cougars -- specifically the duo of Henry Tanksley and Elie Cadet -- exploded. Tanksley drilled eight field goals in the opening half, including five threes, and Cadet came off the bench to knock down his first four attempts and then made three more goals the remainder of the half. Tanksley accounted for 21 points in the first period, but didn't score again. Cadet managed only three field goals after halftime. Western Nebraska came into the game averaging 96.4 points a game, but was held to 33 over the final 20 minutes.
The Warriors were able to stay close in the first period, thanks to 12 points from Iziah James and 11 by Woldetensae, whose total included three triples.
Most of the scoring was done from the field -- the teams made 73 baskets, 20 3-pointers and only 14 free throws. Six different players had at least seven field goals.
Torrey Patton and James supported the Warriors' top two scorers with 15 points apiece. Cadet and Tanksley each had 21 and Martin Roub 16 for the Cougars, who fell to 12-3. Jervay Green, Western's highly-touted sophomore guard who scored 31 in the earlier game against IHCC, was held to 10.
One game remains for the Warriors before the Christmas holiday and it will be against Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa in the final game of the two-day HyVee Classic on Saturday night. The Mavericks knocked off Iowa Lakes in Friday's first game, 67-61.
INDIAN HILLS 94, WESTERN NEBRASKA 86
INDIAN HILLS (10-3)
Devontae Lane 3 1-2 7, Iziah James 6 0-0 15, Nick Wagner 1 0-0 2, Tyon Grant-Foster 2 0-1 6, Tomas Woldetensae 9 1-2 22, Tajim Smith 0 0-0 0, JD Muila 1 1-5 3, Anthony Bratton 1 2-2 4, Tyler Chisom 8 3-5 20, Torrey Patton 7 0-0 15 Team 38 8-17 94
WESTERN NEBRASKA (12-3)
Jervay Green 4 1-1 10, Dru Kuxhausen 2 0-0 6, Bryce Sanchious 2 2-2 7, Martin Roub 7 2-2 16, Henry Tanksley 8 0-0 21, Elie Cadet 10 1-2 21, LeBeck Warren 2 0-0 5 Team 35 6-7 86
Halftime score: Western Nebraska 53, Indian Hills 48; Three-point field goals: IHCC 10 (James 3, Woldetensae 3, Grant-Foster 2, Chisom 1, Patton 1), WNCC 10 (Tanksley 5, Kuxhausen 2, Green 1, Sanchious 1, Warren 1)