The Indian Hills Warriors knew just what to do when their 15-point second-half lead against Harcum College melted away in Friday’s seminal game of the NJCAA National Tournament. They did just what they had done in the quarterfinal game with South Plains the day before: dig in, get some stops on defense and make some pressure-packed free throws. And that’s what the Warriors accomplished for the second straight day in a 97-94 win that puts IHCC in the national title game on Saturday night.
This time it was Roosevelt Scott who made the big free throws, two of them with 12.5 seconds to play. That came after Scott and three teammates forced a turnover when Harcum’s Jordan Goodman drove into a pack of Warriors in the lane with his team trailing by a point.
Scott gathered in the loose ball and was fouled.
After he calmly dropped in both foul shots, Indian Hills needed one more stop. They got it when they tipped the ball out oh the hands of Ivan Uceda of Harcum. The final seconds ran off the clock as the ball rolled away and the Warriors had their 34th win and a spot in the title game opposite Jones County, a 76-63 winner over No. 2 Vincennes in the second semifinal.
Indian Hills led by nine points at the half and boosted the lead to as many as 15 in the second half, the last time at 88-73. That was the same margin by which they led South Plains the day before when two Lester Medford free throws allowed IHCC to escape with a 71-70 victory.
By the end of the game the Warriors, who lost sophomore Roderick Bobbitt to a broken arm in their first game in the tourney, were further hobbled when Akolda Manyang and Marcus Posley had to leave with injuries in the second half. Their status for the championship game is unknown.
Posley led the team in 3-pointers with 86 but hadn’t made one in the first two games. He hit four in this one, including two in the second half when the Warriors were opening up their lead.
The Warriors had the nine-point halftime lead, but had major foul problems by intermission. Posley had four and Quevyn Winters and Medford each had three.
Harcum’s Travis Hester and Jordan Goodman sparked the Bears’ second half comeback combining for seven threes. Goodman and Uceda each had 24 points.
Scott had 25 and Medford 16 for the Warriors who got 14 from Posley and 10 each from Winters, Malik Dime and J.R. Harris.
After Harcum used a 16-3 run to get to within two at 91-89, Harris splashed home two free throws to get IHCC back on the scoreboard.
In a one-point game a little over a minute later, Winters built the lead back to three at 95-92 with a driving layup. Uceda cut the deficit to one again, but Harcum didn’t score again.
Against the biggest team they’ve faced all year, Indian Hills had a decisive edge in rebounds, 48-34. The Warriors shot 52 percent and held the Bears to 44 percent shooting.
Indian Hills will play for the school’s fourth national title on Saturday night. They won three in a row in 1997, ’98 and ’99.
(release courtesy of Indian Hills Athletics)