Mike McDermott, Contributor
The River Valley boys basketball team has a history of playing – and often winning – close games against Dodgeville. Last Monday night was no exception, as the Dodgers travelled to the River Valley gym to open their season. While the Blackhawks had played several games, this was both a season and SWC opener for Dodgeville, due to COVID precautions. Those who have grown accustomed to tight games between these rival schools would not be disappointed in this contest, whether they were watching in person or on RVTV.
The RV boys have been generous hosts in the first half of games this year, and that script played out early in the game as the Dodgers jumped out to a ten point lead. The fully-staffed Blackhawks were not put off by having to play from behind, as they managed to claw their way back into the game. Both teams seemed to be finding their groove as they went into halftime tied up at 25. Yes, this was the kind of game we all expected, and it would only get better.
The hometown five came out of the locker room on fire, quickly opening a 10 point lead and looking like they had designs on cruising to an easy win. No such luck! After Preston Hying made two free throws with 2:36 left in the game to give RV a 57-46 lead, Dodgeville went to work, dropping a quartet of bombs from behind the three point line. River Valley was again playing the role of far-too-generous hosts, giving the Dodgers extra possessions with turnovers and missed free throws. A Dillon Garthwaite bucket cut the RV lead to 59-57 with :06 seconds left in the game. Hying was fouled and made the first free throw to stretch the lead to 3 points. His second shot rimmed out, was picked up by Garthwaite and heaved all the way from the Valley free throw line. Everyone in the gym held their breath for several seconds as the shot narrowly missed going in to send the game to overtime. Valley escaped with a nice home victory, 60-57. Circle Friday, February 5th on the calendar, as that’s when River Valley will travel south to Dodgeville for the rematch. No matter who comes out on top, chances are it’s going to be a barn-burner.
Preston Hying led the Blackhawks in scoring with a game-high 29 points. Landen Alt added 10, and Kameran Smith contributed eight big points off the bench. Dillon Garthwaite paced the Dodgers with 25 points on the night.