ESTHERVILLE - The Iowa Central men's basketball team enters Region XI Tournament play as the underdog, opening up with No. 10 Iowa Lakes here Tuesday night.
Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. in this first round matchup.
The Tritons (6-15 overall) dropped both regular season games with the Lakers (15-7) but finished up the year with close losses to Kirkwood, Des Moines Area and Southeastern.
Freshman PJ Ngambi leads Iowa Central at 18.5 points per game, shooting 46 percent from the field and 36 percent from the 3-point line. Javonte Keck, a returning sophomore, averages over 17 points and seven rebounds a night.
The Tritons have found their rhythm from outside over the past four games, making at least 10 triples in each contest, including 15 vs. the Bears.
Iowa Lakes closed the regular season with wins over Ellsworth and Northeast, going 5-1 over the final six games. The Lakers average almost 83 points per game with Xzavier Jones, Dillon Carlson, Ryan Hall, Kevin Cook and Caleb Johnson all in double figures.
The winner between Iowa Central and Iowa Lakes advances to Thursday night to play either Kirkwood or North Iowa Area. The championship is scheduled for Saturday.
As the regular season winner, Des Moines Area clinched a bid to nationals. If the Bears win the regional title, the runner-up earns the second spot from the conference.
-By Dana Becker