MERCERVILLE, Ohio — With two sister schools in search of a needed win, it was the guests that got the best of a rainy Tuesday night.
Spearheaded by Jacob Dovenbarger’s game-high 21 points, the visiting River Valley Raiders slipped past the host South Gallia Rebels 48-41 in a non-league boys basketball bout.
Dovenbarger — the Raiders’ standout six-foot six-inch senior center — scored in quarters of four, five and six points twice, netting nine total field goals and making the club’s only free throw.
He also drained two of the squad’s three three-pointers, as Layne Fitch — in his season debut — added the other in the second stanza.
In a close contest throughout, River Valley led 12-8 following the opening quarter, followed by a 26-20 advantage at halftime — and a 36-28 lead after three periods.
The only frame the Rebels won was the last at 13-12.
The win gave the Raiders (3-8) a two-game winning streak — after eight consecutive losses following their season-opening win at Eastern.
South Gallia (1-8) got its first victory of the season nine days ago against Green — after opening the season at 0-7.
“It was a dogfight. It’s tough to play that game in that environment. But it was a good win for us and we are hoping to get going. We are getting better and more confident,” said River Valley coach Bryan Drummond. “Jacob Dovenbarger was huge for us and Layne Fitch was an energizer in his return tonight.”
River Valley overcame only making one of eight free throws — by holding a 22-14 advantage in total field goals.
Besides Dovenbarger’s 21, Dustin Barber bucketed five field goals towards 10 points.
Patrick Brown finished with three buckets (six points), along with two from Tre Craycraft (four points) and one apiece by Jacob Campbell (two points) and Ian Polcyn (two points).
The Raiders also won without sharpshooting guard Jarret McCarley, who did not play.
Caleb Henry, on seven field goals and a foul shot, paced the Rebels with 15 points — as Curtis Haner had two twos and two threes towards 10.
All 10 of Haner’s points came in the first half, as Austin Stapleton —on three field goals including the team’s other two triples —netted nine fourth-quarter points.
Austin Day dropped in two buckets for four points, while Colton Bowers bagged three freebies.
However, the Rebels hurt themselves from the foul line — converting only 5-of-14.
Both teams return to the road, and return to Tri-Valley Conference action, on Friday night.
South Gallia goes to Federal Hocking in the TVC-Hocking, while River Valley visits Alexander in the TVC-Ohio.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106