OTTUMWA - For how Marshalltown Community College played and laid it on the line for 45 minutes, the Tigers deserved a better fate.
Instead MCC walked off the court Wednesday at the Hellyer Center knowing that its season was over after a 94-83 overtime defeat at the hands of Indian Hills in the Region XI men's basketball tournament opener.
An inability to dot the Is and cross the Ts in the late going kept the Tigers from reaching the Region XI finals for the first time since 2005. Instead the Warriors advance to face Southeastern in the best-of-three series.
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Marshalltown Community College sophomore Will Clyburn glides in for a layup in front of teammate Luiz Paulo (34) and Indian Hills defender Bruno Ferreira (44) during Wednesday’s Region XI semifinal game at Ottumwa.
"I feel for our kids, they played their hearts out. We had a great gameplan and we understood how to do it," said MCC head coach Brynjar Brynjarsson. "What it comes down to is free throws and a couple of crucial turnovers down the stretch, that's the ballgame right there."
Tyler Brown scored 28 of his game-high 33 points after halftime for the Tigers (17-9). Will Clyburn had 24 points and 10 rebounds, while DeMarcus Phillips added 11 points and Michael Appel nine.
After seven lead changes in the first half, the teams reached halftime knotted at 41-all. Iowa Community College Athletic Conference regular season champion Indian Hills (25-6) started the second half on a 7-0 run to pull ahead.
Indian Hills CC 94, Marshalltown CC 83, OT
MARSHALLTOWN (17-9) - Tyler Brown 33, Henrique Medeiros 2, Will Clyburn 24, Michael Appel 9, Javier Valdez 4, DeMarcus Phillips 11.
INDIAN HILLS (25-6) - Dijon Farr 14, Dwan McMillan 17, Aaron Austin 15, Brian Wilson 8, Bruno Ferreira 6, Larry Stone 21, E.J. Hicks 6, Chad Dillard 5, Brandon Garrett 2.
Halftime - Tied 41-41. End of Regulation 72-72. 3-Point Goals - MCC 7 (Appel 3, Brown 2, Clyburn 2); IH 8 (McMillan 3, Farr 2, Stone 2, Austin). Fouled out - Medeiros, McMillan. Technical foul - MCC bench 2.
Brown's three-point play midway through the second half allowed Marshalltown to tie the game at 52-52 and neither team led by more than five points the rest of regulation.
The Tigers led by five with 54 seconds left, but could not close the door on the Warriors.
"We had them right where we wanted to at the end," Appel said. "We just couldn't get it done."
Marshalltown went 6-for-8 from the foul line in the final minute of regulation, but ended up needing one more point. E.J. Hicks' basket for Indian Hills brought the hosts to within 70-69 with 16.5 seconds left. Clyburn made 1-of-2 from the foul line for MCC, but the Warriors answered with a baseline 3-pointer by Larry Stone for a 72-71 lead with 7.1 seconds left.
After a Tiger timeout, Brown took the ball coast-to-coast and was fouled as he drove to the basket. Brown made the first free throw with 2.2 seconds remaining to tie the game. Brown, who finished the game 17-of-19 and was 10-of-11 at that point, missed the second attempt and the game went to overtime.
Indian Hills led by six halfway through the 5-minute extra period, but the Tigers were within three with just over a minute to go and looked to have gained a game-changing defensive stand.
The referees saw otherwise. The Warriors' Aaron Austin hit a baseline 3-point basket to stretch the lead back to six at the end of the shot clock. The shot appeared to have been released after '0' appeared on the shot clock, but the shot was counted and was a big blow to the Tigers.
Brynjarsson received two technical fouls and Indian Hills added two more points to its lead. Brown had a 3-pointer and hit all three free throws as he was fouled attempting a 3 to get Marshalltown back to three points with 52 seconds left, but the Tigers could get no closer.
"I'm so proud of our team," Brynjarsson said. "It's just too bad, I really feel like I let them down. I really do. They deserved to win that game. We played a heck of team too."
Stone led Indian Hills with 21 points and six assists. Dwan McMillan had all 17 of his points in the first half, Austin added 15 points and Dijon Farr 14.
The Tigers shot 48 percent from the field (24-for-50) for the contest, 76 percent from the line (28-for-37) and 37 percent from 3-point range (7-for-19).
Marshalltown lost by one point in the regular season matchup in Ottumwa. The Tigers dropped their three road games in conference play by a combined seven points.
Indian Hills finished 54 percent from the field (28-for-52), 69 percent on its free throws (30-for-44) and 39 percent on treys (8-for-21).