Indian Hills Warriors Anxious to Get Started

Looks like a pair of iLuvBBall Alumni & former Long Island Champions are poised to team up at Indian Hill CC!

With the official start of preseason practice now less than two weeks away, Indian Hills basketball coach Hank Plona is busy preparing for his third year at the helm, and looking to lead the Warriors to another NJCAA national tournament berth. This year’s edition, however, will be different from Plona’s first two Warrior teams in one key way: he will begin the season with five returning players, which is two more than the combined total from his first two years.

In sophomores Ivan Aurrecoechea, Antonio Williams, Richardson Maitre, Javier Valeiras, and iLuvBBall Alum Jamel Allen (Brentwood HS) IHCC brings back 44% of the points and 47% of the rebounds from the 2016-17 squad that went 29-5, won the regular season and postseason Region 11 championships, captured the district title, and made the school’s fourth consecutive national tourney appearance. “It is great to have a core group returning for the first time since I have been here,” Plona said. “And we have added some very talented players that are tough, high character kids.”

(See Jamel Doing what Jamel does in video below)

Among the players that will compete for playing time with the veteran Warriors are five others who have previous college basketball experience. That group includes another iLuvBBall Alum in former LI Champion from Baldwin High School Shane Gatling (bringing his “Gatling Gun” and transferring from Niagara). “These are guys that need an opportunity to play,” Plona said of the newcomers. “They’re hungry to get on the court and we have enjoyed getting to know them and coaching them so far.”

The IHCC head coach offered a brief description of each of the five. Here’s what he had to say about Shane.

Shane Gatling: “Shane can really make shots. He had some huge games as a freshman at Niagara and can get hot fast. His scoring and shooting ability are things we were looking for.”

“This group should be able to play a very exciting style of basketball,” Plona said about the 2017-18 Warriors. “I think we will be able to get out and play fast, score in transition, and knock down shots. At the same time, we have the toughness and athleticism to be very good on defense, and that will be important too.”

The Warriors have a very ambitious preseason schedule with games against eight other junior college teams in a pair of jamborees, along with a scrimmage against William Penn University, one of the top NAIA teams in the country.

The regular season slate begins with a home tourney the first weekend in November with Indian Hills hosting Johnson County (Kans.) and Mesa (Ariz.) on back-to-back nights.

From the Indian Hills CC Basketball Webpage
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