Ottumwa -- On a night when the eight sophomores on this year's Indian Hills team were recognized before the game, those sophs combined to score 68 points as the Warriors moved within a win of claiming the outright regular- season conference championship by dumping Northeast (Neb.), 86-54. The Hellyer Center win allowed IHCC to complete an undefeated regular season at home. It was their 18th win without a loss. Overall, the Warriors are 26-3 with their final regular season contest at Marshalltown CC next Saturday.
Indian Hills began the Northeast game the exact same way they did their previous test with North Central Missouri on Wednesday night: on 3-pointers by Chris Childs and Drake Jeffries and a bucket by Chris Payton, as they grabbed a quick 8-0 advantage. Ben Moxness got NCC on the board with a triple and Jeffries hit another three to make it 11-3. After Moxness nailed a second three it was 15-9. Indian Hills used five straight points by Malique Jacobs and four by Tyrese Nickelson for a 9-0 spurt and a 15-point lead. Northeast didn't make their first two-point basket until the 9:26 mark of the opening half. For the game, 12 of their 19 field goals were 3-pointers, including six of eight in the second half.
Jeffries enjoyed his best scoring night of the season. He piled up 19 points in the first period on six field goals - five threes - and a pair of free throws, then added a sixth trey in the final half for a season-high 22 points. That led the IHCC scoring, with Chris Childs chipping in 13 points, Chris Payton 12 and Jacobs 11. Childs buried three 3-point attempts to push his season total to 100, tied for third-best in program history, just two away from the top spot.
IHCC's field goal defense, one of the best in the country, had another strong performance, holding the Hawks to 31 percent shooting, under 20 percent on two-point tries. Samba Kane picked off 10 rebounds in 14 minutes of action to lead the Warriors to a 48-33 edge on the glass.
Merrix Denn came off the bench to lead Northeast with 20 points. He made half of their 12 threes. The Hawks' Emmette Page, leading the conference with his 25.6 average, was limited to just one field goal and three points.
JD Muila, sidelined since the midseason break with a knew injury that required surgery, returned to game action for the first time since Dec. 14. The sophomore scored two points and grabbed two rebounds while playing nearly 11 minutes.
The Warriors swept the season series from the Hawks and have beaten them 13 straight times.
INDIAN HILLS 86, NORTHEAST 54
INDIAN HILLS (26-3, 6-1)
Chris Payton 5 2-2 12, Maurice Calloo 2 0-1 4, Tyrese Nickelson 2 2-2 6, Loseni Kamara 0 1-2 1, Chris Childs 4 2-2 13, Malique Jacobs 5 1-1 11, Tyon Grant-Foster 2 5-5 9, Drake Jeffries 7 2-2 22, JD Muila 1 0-0 2, Theo Bourgeois 0 0-0 0, Ben Lyon 0 0-0 0, Samba Kane 2 2-2 6 Team 30 17-19 86
NORTHEAST (12-15, 2-5)
Emmette Page 1 0-0 3, Daniel Akuei 3 0-0 9, Ben Moxness 2 0-0 6, Asher Scavella 1 3-8 5, Oyiti Amum 0 0-0 0, Michael Anderson 3 1-2 7, Merrix Denn 7 0-0 20, Abdul Wurie 2 0-0 4, Justin Hiser 0 0-0 0 Team 19 4-10 54
Halftime score: Indian Hills 44, Northeast 29; Three-point field goals: IHCC 9 (Jeffries 6, Childs 3), NCC 12 (Denn 6, Akuei 3, Moxness 2, Page 1)