The final score would indicate it was a hard game to watch. Steve Hillman saw it completely the opposite.

"That's Pleasant Valley basketball at its finest right there," the head coach said after Tuesday night's 33-25 win over Bettendorf at PV High School.

Offense was at a premium.

A combination of sub-par outside shooting, solid defense and long possessions led to minimal scoring.

Even so, the Class 4A ninth-ranked Spartans had a win at night's end and remained tied with North Scott for the Mississippi Athletic Conference lead with three games to go.

"That's as good as we can play defensively," Hillman said. "That's the kind of game you have to play to win in the postseason. If we can get our guys to guard and rebound like that, I'm extremely excited."

Brian Dayman provided enough offense for PV (16-2, 13-2). The senior poured in 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

It was his second consecutive 20-point performance, and it was needed on a night when Hunter Snyder and Carter Duwa were a combined 3 of 18 from the field (0 of 12 from the 3-point line).

"It is just a case with our team, whoever has the shot going that night," Dayman said. "It happened to be me tonight, but those guys are always a threat and defenses have to respect them."

Bettendorf (8-10, 7-8) was within a point at halftime, but PV scored the first three baskets of the third quarter to open up a seven-point margin.

The Bulldogs never could get closer than two points the rest of the way.

In particular, Snyder and PV's defense kept Bettendorf standout DJ Carton in check. After going for 31 points in the teams' previous meeting, Carton was 6 of 20 from the field and finished with 15 points.

"We had guys in gaps, showing early and committed to giving help," Hillman said. "The last time we played them, guys were more concerned with shooters and let him have lanes and allies.

"The plan tonight was to make every shot contested and difficult. I thought we had bodies and arms in front of him when he shot it."

Bettendorf coach Curtis Clark felt his team did enough to win, particularly on the defensive end.

The Bulldogs just couldn't convert offensively. They were 10 of 41 from the field and made only four baskets in the second half.

"I can live with missing shots," Clark said. "I thought we played with great toughness and effort tonight. If you would tell me we'd hold PV to 33 points, I'd like our chances to beat a really good team on the road."

Other than Carton, Bettendorf had nobody score more than five points. Clark said it is vital for the Bulldogs to get Carton some offensive help as the season hits the stretch run.

"I think our team has continued to improve in a lot of different phases," Clark said. "We've just got to execute more efficiently, rebound better and continue to get more guys involved on the offensive end.

"If we can do all those things a little better, it will make us a lot better."