The River Valley boys basketball team opened the season with a 48-43 home win over Platteville on Friday night. While many of the typical amenities you would hope to find at a high school basketball game were noticeably missing – no band, no raucous student section, no popcorn – the action on the floor provided a welcome escape from the heaviness of living with COVID-19.
Both teams came out of the gate slowly, getting their first taste of real competition for the season. After two early close-range baskets and a free throw by Zach Gloudeman staked RV to a 5-0 lead, the hometown boys went cold and Platteville started to find the range from beyond the arc. Seven of the first eight baskets for the Hillmen came from long range; that’s basketball in the modern era. But, as the saying goes, “You live by the three, you die by the three.” Those hot shooters would likely cool off as the game played out. Coach Thatcher’s squad had quite a few good looks at the basket in the first half, but more shots rattled out than settled into the net, forcing RV to play catch up. A strong drive to the basket by Preston Hying cut the deficit to 17-13 late in the half, but the Hillmen would outscore Valley 10-5 the rest of the frame, taking a 27-18 halftime lead into the locker room.
Will Bailey drained a three pointer on the first possession after the intermission and the Valley boys turned up the heat on defense. An offensive rebound and sweet layup by Tyler Nachreiner cut the lead to 29-27 with 14:00 left. Shortly after, Hying tied the game on a great feed from Gloudeman and momentum was shifting to the RV side. Platteville would hang in until midway through the second half when Valley made a run that put them in the lead for good. Landen Alt sparked the rally, making back to back jumpers from long range, followed by fast break baskets from Hying and Gloudeman as the RV press was taking a toll on the Hillmen. This 10 point flurry put the Blackhawks up 41-35 and allowed them to coast home with a 48-43 win.
Here’s Coach Thatcher reflecting on his team’s performance in the opener; “I’m sure there was a little truth to us having some first game jitters. We’re definitely still trying to get into basketball shape, as well as step into new roles for most of the kids. “We were playing with lineups that haven’t spent a ton of time together yet, not to mention first varsity experiences for some of these guys. I was extremely pleased with how we settled into the second half and responded to halftime adjustments.”
Preston Hying led River Valley scoring with 16 points, Zach Gloudeman added 10, and Tyler Nachreiner and Landen Alt tossed in six apiece. Isaac Vorwald of Platteville led all scorers with 20 points. The Blackhawks owned the boards for the evening, out-rebounding the Hillmen 45-34, with Gloudeman and Nachreiner grabbing 15 and 10 respectively.
The Blackhawks will be back in action at Richland Center on Friday. While attendance at games is limited for the foreseeable future, you can catch all home games live on RVTV, or watch them later on the River Valley School District’s YouTube Channel.