The Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team knew repeating as Metro Suburban Conference champs would be difficult this season. The Bulldogs got a first hand look at their possible title successors on Friday as Glenbard South rolled to an impressive 64-35 win in Glen Ellyn.
The victory moved the Raiders to 5-0 in conference, while RB (6-9 overall) is scuffling a bit at 2-3 in Metro Suburban competition. The teams actually matched up pretty well on Friday except for one player.
Glenbard South 6-foot-4 center Nevena Markovic set a school-record for most points in a single game by dropping 38 on the Bulldogs. Implementing several defensive looks – including a 2-3 zone and box-and-one – RB simply had no answer for the Raiders’ dominant post player. With Glenbard South celebrating Pack the Place Night, RB packed the paint to no avail against Markovic.
“It feels great to have the [scoring] record,” said Markovic, about the scoring high mark previously held by her coach Julie Fonda Smith. “My teammates did a good job finding me and we played great defense.”
As if stopping Markovic wasn’t literally a tall enough order, the Bulldogs compounded their problems with a lackluster offensive showing, including a rash of turnovers.
The Raiders (14-3) took a 9-2 lead two minutes into the game and pushed their advantage to 37-13 by the half. While Markovic tallied 21 points in the first half, RB 6-foot center Kelsey Egger did her best to keep RB within striking distance, scoring nine points, including all of the Bulldogs’ seven points in the second quarter.
“They were one of the taller teams we have played [recently],” Egger said. “It seemed like they made every shot, while we just didn’t shoot very well. It’s tough right now, but we have to just keep working hard in practice and be patient.”
Egger finished with a team-high 11 points and fellow starter Danielle Peco added seven points in the second half. The Bulldogs’ reserves closed the game on the upswing by outscoring Glenbard South 14-13 in the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Megan Walsen led the late surge canning a trio of three-pointers. Walsen’s sharpshooting provided cause for optimism for the rest of this season and next year for an RB squad with 10 juniors on the roster.
“We hustled a lot, but we have to step up our shooting percentage,” Walsen said. “Glenbard South is a good team with a good press. We’re young so we will learn from this game and move on in a positive direction.”
Elena Duve and Meghan Orgler, who saw playing time on last year’s 27-4 team, continued their solid work on the boards against the Raiders’ terrific front line.
“We just have to keep playing hard and smart,” Duve said. “Our mentality is to do everything we can to win games.”