Iowa Western Reivers

NEWS

Reivers rain 3s early, roll in Region XI semi

By Blake Baxter / World-Herald staff writer

COUNCIL BLUFFS — With advancement on the line and a host of Division I coaches in the stands, Iowa Western started its postseason run on fire.

The Reivers hit eight of their first nine 3-point attempts and built a 22-point lead in the first half of an NJCAA Region XI semifinal against Northeast Community College at Kanesville Arena on Wednesday night.

After seeing his team split with the Norfolk school in a pair of close games during the regular season, Iowa Western coach Michael Johnette was anticipating a comeback.

“You always do,” he said. “Dan Anderson has a well-coached program, and that’s the respect we have for Northeast. It’s playoff basketball, and I expected nothing less than for them to make a run.”

But it never materialized.

The Reivers (25-6) kept the foot on the gas in the second half and came away with a 108-87 victory. The win guaranteed the Reivers a third matchup with Indian Hills.

Second-seeded Iowa Western will face the top-seeded Warriors (27-4) in Ottumwa at 7 p.m. Saturday. The teams split in regular-season play.

“They shot it real well tonight, so good for them, and we didn’t shoot it very well,” Northeast coach Dan Anderson said. “I think they have a legitimate shot to beat the Hills.”

Iowa Western shot 53.5 percent, whereas its opponent was 41 percent from the floor and 30 on 3s.

The night began with a 9-0 run on 3-pointers from a trio of Reivers. Alex Peacock, Donovan Walker and Jeremiah Jefferson all hit from downtown in the first 31⁄2 minutes.

“Off the bounce, they were ready to get going,” Johnette said. “Everybody talked about how well we shot it early, but you don’t get the big lead if you’re not playing good defense.

“I don’t always look at the nine; I look at the zero.”

Northeast trimmed the lead to eight points late in the first half, but Iowa Western freshman Pat Dembley answered with a 3 and a nifty step-back jumper to push it safely back into double digits.

“I’m speechless right now, because we just came out with a lot of intensity and ran the score up,” said Dembley, who finished with a game-high 24 points and six assists. “Usually, the game would be in close in our conference play. But because we lost the first time in our house, we can’t let them beat us twice in our house.”

Northeast kept it competitive for a good portion of the second half. Then, at the midway point, the Reivers went on an 18-6 run to pull away.

Balance has been Iowa Western’s calling card all season, and Wednesday was no exception. Five Reivers reached double figures, and one recorded a double-double.

De’Quon Lake racked up 16 points and 13 rebounds. The highly touted 6-foot-10 sophomore has already received scholarship offers from Rutgers, Arizona State and Louisiana State, and he had the attention of Kansas coach Bill Self on Wednesday, as well.

Walker also added 16 points, while Peacock and Jefferson followed with 14 and 12, respectively. Marquel Beasley and Oumar Barry each had nine.

“We’ve got five guys that are averaging double figures and a couple that are a little bit under that,” Johnette said. “We feel like we’re a team that’s difficult to defend because we can do it in a multitude of ways.”

Iowa Western (25-6)............50 58—108

Northeast (21-10).................39 48— 87