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Sauk Valley coach Damhoff reaches milestone in blowout fashion

500 reasons to smile

Russ Damhoff celebrates his 500th win with his team Thursday, after the Skyhawks defeated Black Hawk East 91-60. Damhoff is in his 27th season at the helm of the Skyhawks.
Russ Damhoff celebrates his 500th win with his team Thursday, after the Skyhawks defeated Black Hawk East 91-60. Damhoff is in his 27th season at the helm of the Skyhawks.

DIXON – Most blowout wins are forgettable. The one that happened Thursday at Sauk Valley Community doesn't fall into that category.

Sauk Valley coach Russ Damhoff earned his 500th career win as the Skyhawks thumped visiting Black Hawk East 91-60 in both teams' Arrowhead Conference opener.

"It means something special to me," said Damhoff, who is in his 27th season. "We've had a lot of great players and a lot of special teams."

The postgame celebration was a family affair for Damhoff.

"I remember my mom and dad being at my first game," he said. "My mom was here tonight, and a couple of my brothers. That's special stuff."

Fortunately, reaching 500 wins came more easily than the humble beginnings indicated.

"My brother Bill helped me in my first year," Damhoff said. "It was a tough year. If we would have kept going at that pace, it would have taken over 160 years to get 500 wins. We've had some fun since then."

Sauk (10-5), which has won four straight, got down by six early before taking control. The Skyhawks went up by double digits midway through the first half and cruised from there.

Big man Daven Ottley led the Skyhawks with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Carlos Hendrix also had a double-double for Sauk, scoring 17 points and dishing out 14 assists. Jalen Riley scored 18 points and Magd Owayed 11.

"Coach coached a lot of great players before us," Ottley said. "To help him achieve a goal like that is really important to us."

The 5-foot-10 Hendrix and 6-foot Riley are a dynamic duo in the backcourt.

"I play real good with Los," said Riley, who exited with an ankle injury with 6:28 to play. "We've transitioned to the 1-2 punch pretty well. We started off at the same position, but coach moved me, and we've been playing pretty good since."

Riley thought his injury was minor and that he'd be back for Saturday's game.

The Skyhawks wore down the short-handed Warriors (3-13), who had just seven players. Sauk went 14 deep in the first 12 minutes.

Black Hawk East was playing without Savuyun Ladkin of Louisiana, who reportedly had a brother that was killed. Michael Green led the Warriors with 15 points.

Star of the game: Daven Ottley, Sauk, 20 points, 11 rebounds

Key performers: Carlos Hendrix, Sauk, 17 points, 14 assists; Jalen Riley, Sauk, 18 points, 4 steals; Michael Green, Black Hawk East, 15 points

Up next: Kennedy-King at Sauk Valley, 7:30 p.m. Saturday

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