Tritons open reigonal play

The Iowa Central men and women will open Region XI tournament play tonight.

The ninth-ranked Triton women (24-5 overall, 12-4 ICCAC) will host Southeastern (8-21, 4-12) tonight at 6 p.m.

The Triton men (19-12, 8-6) picked up the fifth seed and will travel to face Ellsworth (21-9, 8-6) tonight at 7 p.m.

The women, who earned the second seed, will host the entire tournament. The final four teams will play Friday and Saturday inside Hodges Fieldhouse.

With a win the Triton women will play at 8 p.m. against the winner of the Kirkwood and Iowa Lakes game.

Top-ranked NIACC will face Ellsworth tonight and with a victory will play Friday’s 6 p.m. against the DMACC and Marshalltown winner. The championship game will be 3 p.m. at Iowa Central.

The Triton women swept Southeastern this year, winning at Keokuk 71-54 and picked up a 103-90 win in Fort Dodge.

“We beat them twice, rather handly at their place,” said Iowa Central head coach Craig Carlson. “We struggled guarding them here. We couldn’t stay in front of their point guard and that opened a big can of worms.

“It’s a seven game season now, hopefully with three in regionals and four at nationals.”

In the two contests combined, Iowa Central’s Lydia Harvey, Miliakere Koyamainavure and Katie Dentlinger have scored 37 points each.

Brittany Bryan and Fia Tailele-Latu have 33 and 28 combined in the two losses. Tailele-Latu had a 27 point game and a one point contest.

“We’ve struggled the last five or six games on defense,” Carlson said. “We have to pick up the pressure and stop dribble penetration. I don’t like to play zone, but we will if we have to.

“This is the first time we’ve hosted the entire tournament in my nine years of coaching here. I sure hope the kids recognize that. We need to put together a nice spurt and be focused and ready.”

The Triton men split their two contests with Ellsworth, winning on the road 95-82 and dropping an 88-72 decision inside Hodges Fieldhouse.

“Over there we shot the ball well,” said Iowa Central head coach Dennis Pilcher. “We had the inside outside game going and played good transition defense.

“When we played at home as soon as we shot the ball, they got the defensive rebound and got some transition baskets.”

Dylan Travis enters the contest as Iowa Central’s leading scorer, putting in 18.7 points per contest. Jesse Jones is averaging 14.3 and Javonte Young is scoring 10.4 a night.

For the Panthers, Robert Lee is scoring 20.8 a night. Tonnie Collier is right behind at 19.8 and Kalehl Brown is averaging 14.3.

In the contest at Iowa Falls, Travis had 30 for the Tritons, while Jones had 21 and Young had 14. For Ellsworth Brown led the way with 17 and Brown added 15.

In the Fort Dodge game Brown (17), Lee (16) and Kaland Brown (15) led the way for the Panthers.

Travis had 21, Justin Lawler had 14 and Young had 13 for the Tritons.

With a win, the Tritons would play the winner of No. 1 seed DMACC and Clinton on Thursday at the higher seeds home court. The highest seed remaining will host the regional championship at 3 p.m. on Saturday.