Indian Hills, a team that shined all year shooting the 3-pointer, smashing school records for three-point shooting, struggled mightily shooting the ball from behind the three-point arc on Saturday night, and Jones County took advantage of the Warriors’ cold shooting to win their first-ever national title, beating IHCC, 87-77, at the Sports Arena.
The Warriors were denied a fourth national championship as Jones County held top-ranked and top-seeded Indian Hills to 35 percent shooting on a night IHCC made only 3-of-30 three-point shots.
Indian Hills fought back from a 13-point halftime deficit to take the lead just over five minutes into the second half and eventually built the advantage to five points with 12:33 to play.
But Jones County regained the momentum and the lead and pulled away from a late four-point advantage with three field goals in the final minute to nail down the win.
IHCC forced a flurry of turnovers to begin the second half and, after trailing 46-33 at the half, tied the score at 49 when Roosevelt Scott hit 3-of-4 free throws after a double technical foul was called on Jones County’s Thaddeus Hall, the Bobcats’ leading scorer, who exited with 15:10 to play.
Quevyn Winters gave the Warriors the lead at 51-49 and when Qiydar Davis scored two minutes later, IHCC was on top 57-52.
A basket by Bryce Jones and a three-point play by Leroy Fludd, the tourney MVP, tied the game at 57.
The two teams then hit matching 3-pointers, the one by J.R. Harris only the second of the game for Indian Hills.
With the game deadlocked at 62, Jones County’s Ashton Woodson put his team ahead for good. The Bobcats eventually opened the lead to 10, but again Indian Hills battled back.
They cut the margin to five, missed the front end of a one-and-one, then got within four at 81-77 on a three-point play by Quevyn Winters with 2:05 remaining. They wouldn’t score again, however, missing three more threes over the final two minutes.
The Bobcats cemented the victory with three buckets in the final seconds.
Indian Hills made only 11-of-40 field goal attempts in the first half and misfired on all 16 of their three-point tries. They were scoreless from distance until Scott hit one as part of the 20-3 run to open the second half.
The Warriors averaged 11.1 3-pointers coming into the game and frequently this season, including an earlier national tournament game against New Mexico JC, overcame a cold-shooting first half by raining threes in the second half. But not in this game.
Jones County only hit four threes, all by Garrett, but used a 52-38 rebounding advantage to help hold off the Warriors.
Scott and Medford were both named to the all-tournament team and Medford also garnered the award for Small Player of the Tournament.
Indian Hills closes an outstanding season with a 34-3 record, the 10th time an IHCC team has won 30 or more games.
(release courtesy of Indian Hills Athletics)