Title Hopes High for RVC Basketball

If everything goes to plan, the Rock Valley College basketball teams will kick-off the madness of March each with shots at a national tournament berth on Saturday, March 1. But first things first.

The RVC women’s and men’s basketball teams have both earned the top seed in their respective regional tournaments, hosted at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Ill. The RVC women will play tournament host College of DuPage tonight (2/27) at 7:00 p.m. and the winner will advance to the championship game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

The Golden Eagles are seeking their third straight Region IV championship, which would propel them to the NJCAA tournament in search of a third straight national championship under head coach Misty Opat.

The RVC women finished the regular season with a record of 24-5, including a perfect 14-0 record in conference play. It is the fourth straight N4C title for the Golden Eagles and RVC’s conference record over those four seasons is an astounding 48-1.

They are currently the #1 ranked team in NJCAA Division III, a spot they have held for over a year. The Golden Eagles are led on the floor by sophomore Marquiesha Grant, an all-region player who is averaging 19.1 points per game.

Meanwhile, the RVC men under head coach Craig Doty finished the regular season at 25-5, equaling the most wins for the men’s program since the 2000-2001 season. They finished 10-4 in the conference, good for second place in the N4C standings behind Triton College. The Golden Eagles have been ranked in the NJCAA Division III poll for several weeks now and are ranked #6 in this week’s poll.

The RVC men also come in as the top seed in the Region IV tournament and will play Friday, February 28 at 5:00 p.m. also versus College of DuPage. The winner of Friday’s game will advance to the championship game on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.

Coach Doty will look to lead his team to a second straight regional championship and second straight trip to the national tournament. In his first season at the helm last year, Doty’s team placed seventh at the NJCAA tournament.

Local talent has led the way for the Golden Eagles this season in the form of leading scorer Jared Mayes (Rockford Jefferson) at 18.3 points per game, LT Davis (Rockford Jefferson) at 14.9 points per game, Ben Grygiel (Rockford Boylan) at 10.1 points per game, and Frank Cimino (Rockford Boylan) at 12.9 points per game. Cimino is currently 12th in the nation for NJCAA Division III in three-point shooting percentage at 46.3%.

These two programs are great examples of the strides RVC athletics has made in recent years. Since 2011 alone, the RVC women’s tennis, women’s basketball, and volleyball teams have brought home national championships, including back-to-back titles for women’s basketball. In all the Golden Eagles have raised 11 championship banners since 1996.

RVC Men's Basketball Coach Craig Doty gets his team prepared during a timeout.

RVC Men’s Basketball Coach Craig Doty gets his team prepared during a timeout.