Courier sports staff
CEDAR RAPIDS —
Frank Williams scored 20 points and drilled six 3-point baskets to help the 10th-ranked Indian Hills basketball team take a 95-88 victory over Kirkwood in hostile territory on Tuesday.
The homestanding Eagles of Kirkwood (6-5) came out fired up against a Warrior team (9-1) they took to the wire a month ago in the confines of Hellyer Student Life Center, and the Warriors struggled shooting the ball in the game’s opening minutes.
IHCC trailed by as many as seven points early, giving up the first six points while falling behind 17-10.
“We just seemed to be off early on at the foul line and a lot of those misses were compounded by us missing one-and-one opportunities,” IHCC coach Barret Peery said. “I knew we could shoot better and it seemed like, as the game wore on and the more opportunities we got, we started to make them pay off especially when they counted.”
IHCC took a five-point lead late in the first half, but fell behind 37-36 before a Williams 3-pointer in the final seconds gave the Warriors a 39-37 lead at halftime.
“To look up and see we had a lead at halftime despite some of the things we struggled with, it was a big boost for us,” said Peery. “I think that carried right over into the second half.”
IHCC opened a 13-point lead, 58-45, early in the second half before a 13-3 run brought Kirkwood back within three points. Another 3-pointer by Williams put IHCC ahead by six. Kirkwood never got closer than five points the rest of the game.
It was the second straight time the Warriors have had to battle hard for victory since a rigorous Thanksgiving weekend road trip.
“I think we’re still feeling some of the effects of that long trip,” Peery said. “It’s starting to sound a little bit like an excuse, but I think the guys are still getting their legs back underneath them after being away from home for so long. It just took us a little longer to get going.”
Williams led six Warriors in double figures, as Dustin Hogue scored 14 points, Gary Williams, Jr. added 13, Jameel McKay scored 12, Jelan Kendrick 11 and Ronald Ross 10. Moss grabbed nine rebounds for IHCC while Kendrick dished six assists.
The Warriors will host the PCS Classic this weekend, with Malcolm X taking on IHCC on Friday night and Independence (Kan.) on the slate for the Warriors on Saturday.
“We’ve got two very quick and athletic teams coming into our place this weekend,” Peery said. “This is what I wanted to sign us up for this year. We needed to be tested like this early on.”
No. 10 (DI) Indian Hills 95, Kirkwood 88
IHCC (95) – Frank Williams 20, Dustin Hogue 14, Gary Williams, Jr. 13, Jameel McKay 12, Jelan Kendrick 11, Ronald Ross 10, Richard Amardi 6, Justin Moss 4, Trinson White 4, Ronnie Stevens 1. Totals 26-58 33-50 95.
3-point goals – 10-20 (Williams 6-10). Fouled out – Amardi, Kendrick. Rebounds - 38 (Moss 9). Assists - 22 (Kendrick 6). Steals - 9 (R. Ross, Amardi, Stevens, Hogue, Williams, Jr., Kendrick, Moss, McKay, Williams). Blocks - 6 (McKay 2). Total fouls – 30 (Technicals – McKay). Turnovers - 21.
Kirkwood (88) – J.C. Fuller 17, Najeal Young 17, Devin Douglas 16, Gage Heffernan 11, Kevin Hunter 11, Kasey Semier 8, Jalen Currie 3, Shaun Manego 3, Taylor Olson 2. Totals 26-52 31-40 88.
3-point goals - 5-14 (Semier 2-2, Fuller 2-4). Fouled out – Manego, Olson, Young. Rebounds - 34 (Heffernan 13). Assists - 24 (Heffernan 7, Semier 7). Steals - 7 (Heffernan 2, Manego 2). Blocks - 3 (Olson 2). Total fouls – 34 (Technicals – Young). Turnovers - 22.
Halftime Score — IHCC 39, Kirkwood 37.