Iowa Western Reivers


Reivers gut out win over Indian Hills

Kevin White,

Pat Dembley and his team-high 19 points went to the Iowa Western bench with 2:46 remaining after his fifth foul.

Every time there was a break in the action, he had a message for his guys.

“I was just telling them, ‘Be smart. Stay in control. And defend, mostly,’’’ he said.

The Reivers took that last part to heart throughout the game. Iowa Western held No. 24 Indian Hills more than 25 points below its scoring average in a 69-64 Iowa Community College Athletic Conference men’s basketball victory before a reporter-estimated 1,000 Wednesday at Kanesville Arena.

“Before anything we do, we play defense,’’ said the 6-foot-1 Dembley, a freshman from Minneapolis. “This was probably our best game defending. Our biggest win, too.’’

Iowa Western improved to 16-3 overall and 1-0 in the ICCAC. The Reivers have lost only once on the court, as they were forced to forfeit their first two victories after they were ruled to have played an ineligible player. They weren’t even one of the six teams who received votes in this week’s NJCAA poll.

Indian Hills, which is seeking to reach the national junior college tournament for the fifth time in six years, dropped to 16-4 and 1-1.

Both teams frustrated the opponent’s offense with players who followed detailed scouting reports.

“Both teams guarded pretty well and played hard,’’ Indian Hills coach Hank Plona said. “It came down to a game of who kind of kept it together and executed at the end, and I think they did a better job than we did.’’

Iowa Western opened its biggest lead at 53-40 with 9:45 left on De’Quon Lake’s scoop shot. But the Warriors chipped away and cut the deficit to 62-61 with 37.1 seconds left on Richardson Maitre’s two free throws.

Sioux City East product Andre Harris split a pair of free throws for the Reivers at the 29.8-second mark, and Maitre’s driving layup in traffic to tie was off. Donovan Walker grabbed the rebound for Iowa Western and was fouled with 20.7 seconds left, and Jermaine Ukaegbu was also slapped with his second technical foul. Alex Peacock made both technical free throws and Walker split his pair to ice the win.

“That’s just two teams of quality caliber locking horns and competing, not giving an inch,’’ Iowa Western coach Michael Johnette said. “We really defended the basketball. For a ball coach, that’s kind of a fun way to win it.’’

Iowa Western likely is without 6-5 starter Bear Henderson, who has a knee injury, for at least a couple more weeks. The Reivers also battled foul trouble throughout the game.

“To their credit, I thought they kept the foot on the gas the entire night,’’ Plona said. “They stayed committed to what they were doing, even when it wasn’t working early. Their toughness and resiliency ended up winning out.’’

The 6-6 Peacock complemented Dembley with 16 points and eight rebounds for the Reivers. Johnette also praised the inside work of 6-11 reserve Oumar Barry, who gained added minutes due to Lake’s foul trouble.

“I don’t think we win the ballgame without his contesting every shot,’’ Johnette said.

Chris McNeal led Indian Hills with 19 and 6-10 Iowa State transfer Brady Ernst, a Xavier signee, added 17 points and seven rebounds.

It wasn’t enough as the Reivers took the first big step of the conference race.