The Riverside Brookfield boys basketball team’s perfect conference record came to an end on Friday night.
The Bulldogs fell to Ridgewood 57-56 in overtime, suffering its first Metro Suburban Conference loss of the season and dropping their record to 6-1.
The low-scoring affair was tight throughout with both teams exchanging leads. Still, after 32 minutes of play, the score was deadlocked at 50 to force overtime. RB (8-12 overall) tallied the first three points to begin the overtime period, but failed to convert from the charity stripe to truly distance themselves from Ridgewood. The Rebels took full advantage, draining two straight three pointers to notch the score at 56-53. The Bulldogs, however, fought back, courtesy of a Jon Baldermann bucket, followed by a free throw from Dontaye Bosley to tie the score. With four seconds remaining in overtime, RB fouled Rebel Joe Lipsey, who sank one of two free throws for a 57-56 lead. The Bulldogs then managed to advance the ball up the court, finding senior guard Dan Papadatos a good look at the basket, but his shot narrowly missed as time ran out.
Baldermann led RB with 25 points and seven rebounds, while junior Chris Parrish added 18 points.
“It was a very intense game and a lot of lead changes and we just came up a little short,” said RB coach Tom McCloskey. “We were up three, but they quickly answered. Needless to say it was a hard loss and it makes Friday’s game against Fenton that much more important.”
Indeed, the match-up at Fenton on Friday (7 p.m.) has very big implications for RB. The Bulldogs have managed two come-from-behind wins against Fenton this season, which worries McCloskey. Also, considering the Bulldogs have one conference loss and Fenton has two, Friday’s game is a must-win for RB. After that, the Bulldogs have three more games before post-season play begins, but McCloskey is making sure to take one game at a time.
“Obviously, a loss Friday would put us in a tie for first and we really don’t want that to happen,” McCloskey said. “It is tough to beat any team three times in a row, but that is what we have to do. In order to win, we will need good balance inside and out and we have to contain their scorers, but I think if the guys stay focused we can get the road win.”