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RV boys secure program's first playoff bid
Falcons beat Inderkum to move into tie for 1st in TCC
The seven-year wait is over for the River Valley High boys basketball program.
With their 72-56 Tri-County Conference win over Inderkum on Wednesday night at Falcon Gymnasium, the Falcons (15-10) picked up their 15th win of the season and locked in their ticket to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs — and there may be more history in the making for RV.
The Falcons moved into a tie with Inderkum for first place in the TCC as both teams sit at 6-2. Woodland is 5-3 after its win over Yuba City on Wednesday and will visit River Valley on Friday night.
If RV can win its final two regular-season matchups with Woodland and Yuba City, the Falcons can insure at least a share of the TCC crown, a program-first.
"It's pretty ground-breaking for the school," said River Valley senior Jordan Noall. "We've caught fire at the right time. The second half of league is the most important time of the year and that's when we're stepping it up."
In the latest Sac-Joaquin Section Division III power ratings released on Monday, River Valley is the No. 12-ranked team and could move up with victories in its final two games. Moving up to No. 8 would solidify a home game to open the postseason.
River Valley coach Brad McIntire said he's never had a team start a season 2-6 and go 13-4 in its next 17 games.
McIntire said his team's defensive intensity and ball movement on the offensive end were the two main reasons for the turnaround.
Since losing back-to-back games to Inderkum and Woodland in the first cycle of TCC play, the Falcons have rattled off four straight victories.
"You have to have a short-term memory in sports," McIntire said. "They've played unselfish basketball. They've worked hard and are playing well as a team."
McIntire added that a different player can step up on any night for his team this season.
On Wednesday, it was lithe sophomore Josh Dhatt, who scored a team-high 18 points, showing off a smooth stroke from behind the arc and an ability to drive the lane and finish at the hole.
As a team, RV shot 68 percent from the field in the first half and went into halftime with a 33-25 lead.
The Falcons' defense was just as effective, limiting Inderkum to 28-percent shooting in the second half and 33 percent over the first 16 minutes.
Gurvir Gill delivered a huge spark off the bench for the Falcons with 12 points, while T.J. Dove dropped in 12 points of his own.
Noall scored eight points and was aggressive in the paint with seven rebounds. Fellow senior Stuart Bradley totaled six rebounds and scored 10 points.
Inderkum's Terrance White led all scorers with 25 points.
"There's someone new for us every night," Noall said. "We can depend on anyone here to score at anytime and make big plays."
The Falcons' goals at the beginning of the season were to win 15 games, earn a playoff bid and win the TCC title — two of those have been checked off the list.
Earning that last goal starts on Friday night.
"We can control our own destiny and you can't ask for anything more than that," McIntire said.