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River Valley Conference Shootout a showcase Saturday
14 of the league’s 15 teams took part in 7 boys’ basketball games at Kirkwood Community College’s Johnson Hall
CEDAR RAPIDS – It was officially called the River Valley Conference Shootout, but this was just as much the River Valley Conference Showcase.
The event at Kirkwood Community College’s Johnson Hall began Saturday morning and lasted through the evening, with seven boys’ basketball games featuring 14 of the 15 league schools.
Only Cascade didn’t take part, locked into an annual tournament in Dubuque instead.
“For our league, it’s kind of like the Big Ten-ACC Challenge or something,” said Monticello Coach/Activities Director Tim Lambert. “After the first game, the Tipton kids were walking off the court and the West Liberty kids were walking in, and they were cheering each other on. That was pretty cool to see.”
Each game pitted a team from the RVC’s North Division against one from the South. League coaches seeded the teams, which is how matchups were determined.
With Dyersville Beckman and Maquoketa joining this school year, the conference is playing a division-only schedule this season. Each team in a division plays each other team twice.
Everything else is considered non-conference.
“What I really liked about this is we’re able to get more non-conference games into our schedule by doing this, with the expansion of our conference,” said Iowa City Regina Coach Barry Lehman. “We have six non-conference games, and we kind of like that. That’s kind of how I came up playing at Regina, all non-conference games. This is kind of cool, kind of right in the middle (geographically) for everybody. No one has to drive too far.”
Beckman Coach Michael Molony said he thought the event was advantageous in that people could come see virtually every River Valley team in one day, in one place. The Iowa High School Athletic Association is producing its own state rankings this season for the first time, and those rankings are being used as a sort of guide when it comes to putting together postseason groupings and brackets.
Back to that showcase thing.
“Great idea,” Molony said. “I think it’s an amazing thing. This is the exposure you need to have. Especially the way the seedings are now in the playoffs. The state’s not drawing it up with circles anymore. We need the people who are involved in the process to come to our games and see us play.”
The Shootout began with Tipton edging Anamosa, 48-44. Northeast then overwhelmed West Liberty, 75-45.
Beckman gave the North another win by beating Durant, 66-41. Playing without injured all-state point guard Tate Petersen, Monticello got past Regina, 64-57.
Cam Pickard scored 29 points as Mid-Prairie edged Camanche, 57-55. A Class 1A top-10 ranked Bellevue team beat West Branch, 78-58, behind a 44-point effort from Robert Paulsen.
Maquoketa and 2A No. 6 Wilton closed things out, with Maquoketa picking up a 75-63 victory.
The River Valley Conference will conduct a girls’ Shootout in a couple of weeks at Cornell College. The hope is these will become annual events.
“It has gone very well. The facility is good, Wags has been incredible hosting and helping,” Lambert said, tipping his cap to Kirkwood AD Doug Wagemester. “It’s been really good, hope to continue doing it. Absolutely. Hopefully here, if it works … As long as it works financially. Finding dates is hard. Kirkwood men and women are on the road (today). Next year, you’d think they’d be at home.
“ADs and coaches just thought we should try something like this. I think it has been pretty cool.”
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