Taken out of its offensive flow by Pleasant Valley, Bettendorf had to make the most of its opportunities Wednesday night.
In the fourth quarter, that meant going to the free-throw line, again and again.
The Class 4A No. 2 Bulldogs scored 16 points in the fourth quarter — all from the foul line — to hold off Pleasant Valley and grab a 42-36 win at Pleasant Valley High School.
"We knew we had to value the ball, take good shots because we were going to have limited shots," said senior Trevor Feller, who led the Bulldogs with 13 points, seven coming from the foul line. "It really prepares us for this stretch we're about to go on. We need to make our free throws and manage the end of the game better."
Bettendorf (16-1, 13-1 MAC) only had one field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and was limited to 17 total shots in the game.
Feller had the first six Bulldog points as Bettendorf took a 6-5 lead after the first quarter. Pleasant Valley (10-7, 7-7) countered in the second quarter, taking a 13-12 lead on a basket from Carter Duwa with 3 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the half.
Neither team scored the rest of the quarter as that lead held up at halftime.
"Going into it, we know what (PV's) style is and what their strategy is going to be, so it wasn't like we weren't prepared for that," Bettendorf head coach Curtis Clark said. "We made some mental errors on the defensive side, fouling when we shouldn't have fouled. Bottom line is you've got to take care of the basketball and make free throws, and we didn't do that tonight."
Though the Bulldogs made 18 free throws in the game, Clark didn't like the percentage, as Bettendorf attempted 28.
The Bulldogs also had 17 turnovers but were efficient in the third quarter, making five of their six shots to take a 26-17 lead heading into the fourth.
Lucas Hayes had four points in the quarter but in a game where every possession mattered, the 6-foot-6 junior was huge on the defensive end, with three emphatic blocks in the game.
"In the practice two days ago my coaches really told us to lock down and they told me to sit down and guard because I really haven't been doing it that well this season," Hayes said. "This game, our whole team kind of sat down and guarded because this game was a little more special, being PV."
The fourth quarter was a slog, with both teams ending up in the double bonus. The Spartans took advantage, cutting the lead to 39-36 after Hunter Snyder stole an inbounds pass, got fouled, and made a pair of free throws with 44.9 seconds left.
Feller was fouled on the inbounds, made both his free throws, then after Duwa missed a 3 on PV's next possession, made another pair to put the game away.
Ohio State commit DJ Carton added 11 points for Bettendorf while Snyder finished with 19 points and Duwa added 11 for the Spartans.
"The gameplan was to compete every possession and battle and try give ourselves a chance to win at the end," PV head coach Steve Hillman said. "I thought our kids did a nice job following the gameplan.
"We played every possession like it mattered and for this team to win, I think we need to do a little bit more of that."