DIXON – Jalen Riley was in the zone.
With his team clinging to a slim lead late, Riley scored a dozen points in a little more than a minute to lift Sauk Valley to an 88-78 Arrowhead Conference win Thursday over Illinois Valley.
"I did not know I scored that many points that quick," said Riley, who scored 22 of his game-high 33 points in the second half. "When you get a zone like that, the basket feels like an ocean. Everything's falling. You feel like you can shoot from anywhere."
Riley's heroics came at the right time. With Sauk (12-6, 2-1) leading 64-61, the Skyhawks' Scott Scholl scored off a feed from Carlos Hendrix. Then, with 7 minutes left to play, Riley went off.
First, he hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and was fouled, making it a four-point play at the 6:22 mark. He added a two-pointer before knocking down a fade-away 3 from the left wing that nearly saw him end up in the stands. Riley added another 3 at the 5:15 mark, giving him a dozen points in just 67 seconds. He finished 7-for-13 from 3-point range.
"It's fun to have a shooter like that," Sauk coach Russ Damhoff said. "He's one of those kids you have to stick with. He's a shooter. He competes, and he can really score."
Early, it looked like Alec Schwab might again stump the Skyhawks. He scored 16 of his team-high 27 points in the first 13 minutes.
"We know Schwab can play," Damhoff said. "That probably cost us the conference last year, when we lost that double-overtime game and he had 50 on us."
Schwab led IVCC (12-6, 1-2) to a quick 22-10 advantage midway through the first half.
Daven Ottley (16 points, 11 rebounds) ignited the Skyhawks with a pair of thunderous dunks, the first on a follow-up and the second an alley-oop from Hendrix (7 points, 10 assists).
Sauk led 35-28 at the break after closing the half with a 25-6 tear.
The Skyhawks went up 49-36 on a bucket by Magd Owayed (18 points, 15 rebounds) with 16:26 to play before the Golden Eagles rallied.
"We started a little slow, but we kept playing hard and came back," Owayed said. "We needed to keep playing hard after a hard loss 2 days ago [a 77-65 loss at Carl Sandburg]."
Perry Adams added 18 points, Corey McCrary 12 and Jovonn Griffin 10 for IVCC.
Star of the game: Jalen Riley, Sauk, 33 points, 5 rebounds
Key performers: Magd Owayed, Sauk, 18 points, 15 rebounds; Daven Ottley, Sauk, 16 points, 11 rebounds; Alec Schwab, IVCC, 27 points
Up next: Sauk at Malcolm X, 3 p.m. Saturday