RVC Overcomes Size, Shoots Past Indian Hills 77-67
It certainly isn't the first big win Rock Valley College has had in their incredible run of success. It certainly won't be the last. NJCAA D1 Indian Hills is one of the premier junior college programs in the country however.
The Warriors were bigger, and faster, but the Golden Eagles his 12 three point shots and had a plus-four edge on the glass over the bigger Warriors, building a lead as high as 23 in the first half before pulling away at the end after the Warriors cut it to 5, gaining a 77-67 win over the 17th-ranked team in NJCAA D1
"This shows a group of young guys that are stepping in to a lot of different roles that are capable of doing a lot of really nice things when they want to play hard and play smart and play together," Rock Valley coach Evan Lavery said after the big win.
It was a typical balanced effort for the Golden Eagles, the top-ranked team in NJCAA D3. Former Hononegah player Alec Pena scored 20 and had a big first half in helping push the lead. Former Winnebago star Dalton Menke and Malique Ross played big rolls in the second half. Menke finished with 15 points, and Ross, who shot 1-8 in the first half, shot 4-7 in the second half, finishing with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists.
Perhaps no player came up bigger than DeMari Davis. The redshirt freshman from Indianapolis only scored 7 points, but he pulled down 12 rebounds, including 8 offensive boards.
At 6'6", Davis is the second tallest player on the team (Pena is the tallest at 6'7"). The Warriors towered over RVC, playing 4 players taller than anyone RVC had, including 6'10" Brady Ernst, who led all scorers with 23 points. The offensive rebounds Davis was able to pull down in traffic helped lead to second-chance buckets and allowed the Golden Eagles to push the lead.
"DeMari Davis is emerging as the heart and soul of this team," Lavery said. "He gives everything he has to this program every day and I love having that kid in my corner."
The rebounding edge, as well as a 36-0 advantage from the three point line, was enough for the Golden Eagles to pick up the win. It is a big win for a young RVC team that lost a big challenge the previous week against the third-ranked team in D2, South Suburban College. Lavery however said the win is over tomorrow morning as they travel to take on Columbus State Community College in another tough challenge.
"It's no doubt a fantastic win," he said. "Indian Hills is a fantastic program. At the same time, there is a lot of season left to go. We have to hit the bus at 7 AM and go to a Columbus, so we can't have a let down."