Courier Staff Writer
When the PCS Classic began on Friday, Jameel McKay was merely a spectator to the action on the floor.
On Saturday in the finale of the classic, McKay did so much more.
One night after having to sit and watch his Warrior teammates put on a show in a 115-77 rout of Malcolm X, McKay became a major part of another high-octane night of offense resulting in a career scoring night for the Milwaukee sophomore. The two-year leading scorer for Indian Hills scored a career-high 31 points as part of his seventh double-double of the season, pulling down 11 rebounds to top his entire total of six from last season as No. 12 (DI) IHCC ran away from Independence, winning 117-96 in the final game of the Warriors’ third home tournament.
No one was happier than McKay to be able to play his part in helping Indian Hills move to 11-1 on the season.
“It felt really good to be back out there. I felt like I let the team down not being out there with them on Friday,” McKay said. “If you look at most of my points, they came as a result of plays my teammates made for me. They did all the work. I just finished things off.”
McKay became the first Indian Hills player under second-year head coach Barret Peery to score over 30 points in a game. Peery talked about the response of his talented sophomore one night after making the decision to keep McKay on the bench.
“I had a little discipline for him on Friday, but I will say that he was a heck of a cheerleader for us on the bench supporting his teammates well,” Peery said. “I was pleased with how Jameel responded to everything, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from him.”
McKay’s career night came as a byproduct of the Warriors biggest advantage over the Pirates. The dominance height of IHCC resulted in a staggering 56-24 rebounding edge and led to several easy baskets in the paint – several of which came on offensive rebounds.
“That combination of Ronnie (Stevens), Popps (Rawane Ndiaye), Jameel, Dustin (Hogue) and Richard (Amardi) were fantastic around the rim,” Peery said. “At the half, those five guys were 19-25 from the field. They did a great job around the basket all night.”
By the end of the night, the five Warrior big men combined to hit 28 of their 42 field goal attempts, a 67 percent clip that paced an overall 56 percent shooting night for IHCC as a team with six players scoring in double figures. McKay led the way, hitting 15 of 21 field goals while Stevens nearly added his own double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling in nine boards as 12th-ranked IHCC never trailed in their 12th game of the season.
“It’s real big to get everyone involved like that,” McKay said. “We’re 15 deep as a team and we’re going to stay 15 deep all season. Everyone’s going to be a part of our success.”
Depth proved to a big factor for the Warriors in the PCS Classic after it was announced following Friday’s win that leading freshman scorer and rebounder Justin Moss had been dismissed from the team. On Saturday, IHCC played without sophomore guard Jelan Kendrick who suffered a shoulder injury early in the Warriors’ win over Malcolm X.
Despite those adjustments, the Warriors never trailed or were caught by Independence after scoring the first six points of the night. Runs of 8-1, 6-0 and 9-0 highlighted a first half in which the Warriors quickly opened a double-digit lead while scoring 61 points in the opening 20 minutes for the second straight game.
“I thought our guys handled themselves very well all week long,” Peery said. “Having to flow into this tournament after a tough win on Tuesday at Kirkwood wasn’t easy. We obviously had to adjust to not having Jameel on Friday and not having Jelan (Saturday), but I think our guys responded when they had to.”
Down by 23 points early in the second half, Independence made their biggest run of the night behind Kansas City sophomore TraVaughan White. The Jayhawk Conference’s leading scorer put on a show of his own, scoring a game-high 37 points including seven straight points as a 14-3 run cut IHCC’s lead down to 71-58.
The spark by White seemed to spark a confidence in the Pirates (6-6) that they could run with the Warriors. That helped IHCC put the game away with nine points in less than a minute as Indian Hills doubled their lead to 84-58 and never led by less than 21 the rest of the way.
“We struggle sometimes when we try to slow the game down,” Peery said. “I think we feel good about it when teams want to run with us. We have a method to our madness and we’re confidence in how we play and what we do.”
“Any team that wants to run with us, that’s what we want to do. We practice it more than any team in the country and we’ll run with anybody,” McKay added.
The Warriors continue the five-game home stand that closes out the first half of the season next week with the final home tournament of the year. IHCC will play three games in four days at the Hellyer Student Life Center, facing Clinton on Friday and Mineral Area Saturday in the Hy-Vee Classic with both games slated for 7 p.m. tipoffs.
“Travel is tough, even on short trips. There’s no doubt about it,” Peery said. “You’d rather play at home, especially when you get to call the Hellyer Center your home.”
No. 12 (DI) INDIAN HILLS 117, INDEPEDENCE 96
Indepedence (96) — TraVaughn White 37, Julian Edmonson 15, James Pegues 13, Christopher Spotser 10, Jervon Hooks 6, Dominique Jefferson 6, Daylin Billingsley 4, Peyton Botts 3, Jamal Goodwin 2. Totals 28-65 34-44 96.
3-point goals — 6-25 (White 3-8, Spotser 1-1, Botts 1-3, Edmonson 1-7, Billingsley 0-1, Hooks 0-1, Jefferson 0-1, Pegues 0-3). Fouled out — Goodwin, Pegues. Rebounds — 24 (Spotser 6, Jefferson 4, Goodwin 3, White 3, Botts 2, Edmonson 2, Hooks 2, Billingsley, Pegues). Assists — 20 (Botts 3, Hooks 3, Jefferson 3, Pegues 3, Edmonson 2, Goodwin 2, Spotser 2, White 2). Steals — 13 (White 4, Edmonson 2, Jefferson 2, Pegues 2, Spotser 2, Botts). Blocks — 3 (Jefferson 2, Spotser). Total fouls — 25. Turnovers — 20.
IHCC (117) — Jameel McKay 31, Dustin Hogue 16, Gary Williams, Jr. 15, Frank Williams 14, Ronnie Stevens 13, Richard Amardi 12, Rawane Ndiaye 6, Ronald Ross 4, Martin Dixon-Green 3, Trinson White 3. Totals 42-75 27-38 117.
3-point goals — 6-17 (Williams 2-6, Dixon-Green 1-1, Hogue 1-2, White 1-2, Williams, Jr. 1-2, Gary Ross 0-2, R. Ross 0-2). Rebounds — 56 (McKay 11, Stevens 9, Ndiaye 7, Williams, Jr. 7, Amardi 5, White 4, Majok Deng 3, Williams 3, Hogue 2, G. Ross 2, R. Ross 2, Dixon-Green). Assists — 29 (Williams, Jr. 6, Hogue 5, R. Ross 5, Williams 4, White 3, G. Ross 2, Amardi, Dixon-Green, McKay, Ndiaye). Steals — 10 (Williams, Jr. 3, Williams 2, Amardi, G. Ross, R. Ross, Stevens, White). Blocks — 4 (Stevens 2, Amardi, McKay). Total fouls — 29. Turnovers — 25.
Halftime: Indian Hills 61, Indepedence 40