image image image image
IHCC 2018 District Champs

IHCC Receives #1 Seed in NJCAA National Tournament

By Jason Van Arkel, March 12, 2018

There was no surprise or drama, just a quick confirmation of what everyone had expected. Monday morning, the Indian Hills basketball team was awarded the #1 overall seed in next week’s NJCAA Division I national tournament.

“You want to have as successful a season as possible, and to this point we’ve done that,” said IHCC head coach Hank Plona, appearing on the NJCAA live online tournament selection show. “I’m happy that our kids are receiving a reward for the season that they’ve had.” At 33-0, the Warriors are the only undefeated team in NJCAA Division I, and have been ranked #1 in the country for the past month.

The top eight seeds all receive first-round byes, so The Warriors won’t play their first game in the tournament until Tuesday, March 20 at 2 pm Central Time. Indian Hills will face either #16 seed Barton, an at-large tournament selection from Kansas with a 27-6 record, or #17 seed Tyler, the Region XIC champion from Texas with a 26-6 record. Those two teams meet Monday at 10 am, in the opening game of the tournament.

While Plona appreciates the top seed, and the bye that comes with it, he knows the #1 spot doesn’t come with any guarantees. “The national tournament is a whole different deal,” he told the selection show. “Somebody told me that the one seed has never won the national tournament…we need to continue to do the things that have gotten us to this point, and made us have a successful season.”

IHCC heads to Hutchinson, Kansas looking for its first national title since the Warriors’ three-peat run in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Indian Hills played in the 2014 national title game, losing to Jones County. Their semifinal win that season over Harcum is IHCC’s last national tournament win; the Warriors lost their first tournament game in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Plona hopes his team is primed for a deep tournament run this season.

“It’s an opportunity for us, and we’re happy that we’ve been rewarded this way,” he said. “We look forward to coming down to Hutch.”