The 10th-ranked Indian Hills basketball team used a mix of clutch shooting, unselfish passes and solid free throw shooting in its 102-90 victory Friday over Ellsworth at home Friday.
But neither coach Barret Peery nor his players were satisfied with the victory.
Peery said he felt the team’s effort waned at points, adding that it picked back up when the Panthers began cut into the Warriors lead.
“It was a very good team, but we have to play a lot better,” said Jelan Kendrick, who led Indian Hills with 18 points.
The Warriors jumped out to a 28-20 lead thanks to some slick passing and Ellsworth turnovers that were induced by Indian Hills trademark full-court press. Jameel McKay was a paragon of efficiency early in the game, knocking down his first four shots. Indian Hills went into the locker room with a 52-37 lead.
Later in the second half, IHCC’s Dustin Hogue intercepted an inbound pass in the backcourt, took a couple dribbles and finished the play with a two-handed jam, extending the Warriors lead to 78-63 with 12:21 left.
Ellsworth, however, inched its way back into the contest. Panther Malcolm Canada slashed down the middle of the lane and finished the play with finger roll over the front of the rim, which narrowed the gap to 79-69. Ellsworth managed to get within single digits — the Panthers trailed 83-75 — with nine minutes remaining in the game.
Yet, every time Ellsworth seemed to be on the brink of making a serious run, someone on the Warriors would hit a big shot. On many occasions, Ronald Ross, who finished with 17 points, was the person to knock down one of these momentum-killing baskets. Ross buried four 3-pointers in the contest.
McKay gave the Warriors some productive minutes during an important point past the midway point in the second half. First, he scored inside on a strong move to the left that he laid off the glass. Then, after drawing a crowd of defenders inside the paint, McKay found Kendrick cutting down the middle of the lane for a bucket.
Later in the game, McKay picked off a pass in backcourt and fed Hogue who slammed it in, extending the Warrior lead to 95-81. Kendrick and Trinson White buried four clutch free throws to secure the victory for IHCC in the game’s final minutes.
IHCC (8-1) plays at Kirkwood Community College Tuesday in Cedar Rapids.
IHCC 102, Ellsworth 90
Ellsworth (90) — Malcolm Canada 21, David Weathers 18, Jared Fulks 11, David Dep 3, Tonnie Collier 13, Darvell Brown 10, Abrie Anderson 4. Turnovers — 16.
IHCC (102) — Jameel McKay 12, Jelan Kendrick 18, Justin Moss 12, Frank Williams 9, Richard Amardi 4, Ronald Ross 17, Dustin Hogue 14, Triston White 9. Totals -34-53 20-26 FT 102.
3-point goals — 7 (R. Ross 4). Fouled out — Amardi, Ronnie Stevens 2. Rebounds — 20 (McKay 4). Assists — 8 (McKay 2, Moss 2). Steals — 6 (Amardi 2). Blocks — 2 (McKay 2). Total fouls — 16. Turnovers — 16.
Halftime: Indian Hills 52, Ellsworth 37