Scoring, assists, rebounding, steals – Megan River has her fingerprints all over the stat sheet when she plays. The Black Hills High School senior is also without question one of the Wolves’ leaders this year, having been a member of the varsity since she first arrived on campus.

Last year, River was named the 2A Evergreen Conference Most Valuable Player, and you would be hard-pressed to find a team this season that asks more out of an individual player.

Scorer, captain, floor general, she is required to wear many hats.

You could also add the title of team historian to her list of jobs.

“I actually have very detailed memories of watching Black Hills basketball growing up,” the 5-foot-7 combo guard stated before supporting the claim by rattling off several former standouts whose play inspired her during her youth.

One of her favorite Black Hills basketball memories occurred when she was 10 and watched former team captain Taylor Pottschmidt put on a defensive clinic.

Megan River
River (No. 4) has been a member of the Black Hills varsity since she was a freshman. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“I just remember how intense she was on defense,” River said about the 2012 Black Hills graduate. “You could see how hard she made everyone work. The energy was amazing. I’ve always dreamed of being like them. That’s how I wanted to play.”

While River was idolizing the team on the court, her presence wasn’t going unnoticed either.

“I can remember when she was a little kid playing at halftime at our games,” said Herb Guscott, who is in his first season as the Wolves’ head coach after severing as a long-time assistant coach in the program. “We knew she was going to be a big-time player when she finally got here.”

Black Hills girls basketball Megan River
River was named the 2A Evergreen Conference MVP last year as a junior. Photo credit: Grant Clark

And she’s been exactly that.

The girl who constantly dreamed about playing for the Wolves has turned into one of the program’s all-time greats.

As a freshman, she helped Black Hills finish fifth at the Class 2A state tournament. The following year, she was in a starting role and asked to contribute more, and she delivered as River was a second-team all-conference pick, as the Wolves once again claimed a state trophy during her sophomore season, finishing fourth at the tournament.

River also significantly upped her game during her junior season last year, earning EvCo most valuable player honors, as well as being named second team all-tournament at the 2A state tournament after the Wolves took home sixth place.

Now a senior, River is asked to do even more for the program.

Black Hills girls basketball Megan River
River, a combo guard, leads the Wolves in scoring and assists this season. Photo credit: Grant Clark

“The goal is just to show up with energy every game,” River said. “There’s a lot of talent here, but maybe not as much as we’ve had in the past. So, we have to show up and work hard every game.”

It’s unlikely you will ever find River take a play off. All hustle, all the time for Black Hills’ workhorse.

“She sets the tone,” Guscott said. “She’s asked to do a lot of stuff, and she does a great job for us.”

Possessing an extremely high basketball IQ to go with her versatile athletic skill set, River rarely leaves the court this season for the Wolves. She’s far too valuable. Against North Thurston in a non-conference game, River was whistled for her second personal foul just 4 1/2 minutes into the contest. Guscott didn’t think twice about taking her out of the game.

“Other kids, you pull them out,” said Guscott. “We’ll leave Megan in. She’s a smart ball player and we didn’t miss a beat defensively when that happened.”

The very next play, River came up with an aggressive steal followed by an assist, which helped Black Hills widen its early advantage over the visiting Rams.

While the first quarter was all about River’s defensive prowess, her offensive firepower took center stage in the closing moments of the second quarter as she drained three consecutive 3-pointers to give the Wolves a comfortable lead at the intermission.

Black Hills girls basketball Megan River
River has helped Black Hills capture three consecutive trophies at the 2A state tournament. Photo credit: Grant Clark

She would later sink a buzzer-beater to close out the third quarter, giving the Wolves a commanding 20-point lead.

“Last year Megan was asked to score a little more,” Guscott said. “This year, I’ve asked her to run the point and set everybody up. The last two or three games, she’s just played phenomenal. She’s just been lights out.”

“I ask all the girls to go to war for me and to have each other’s backs and Megan does that every game,” Guscott said. “She does it all for us. She plays every minute of every game. She scores, she rebounds, she dives on the court for the ball, and she’s an awesome kid too, on and off the court.”

River and her teammates will begin their quest towards a conference championship on January 8 when they open EvCo play at home against W.F. West. The Wolves are looking to advance to the state tournament for a seventh consecutive season.

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