Riverside-Brookfield boys basketball guard Ryan Jackson and Glenbard South guard Joe Harks staged an old fashioned showdown Saturday in Glen Ellyn.
After the smoke cleared, Jackson (28 points) was the last man standing as RB pulled out a 79-73 Metro Suburban Conference win over the Raiders.
“Ryan is a fierce competitor,” RB coach Tom McCloskey said. “Harks was also outstanding. Ryan is having a great senior year and does so much for us on the court.”
Up 72-63 late in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs (9-3, 3-0) appeared poised to put the game away when 6-foot-9 senior Alex Dziagwa (13 points, 15 rebounds, 5 blocks) soared in for an emphatic jam. The dunk attempt clanked off the rim and Glenbard South raced down the floor finding Harks for a three-pointer to suddenly pull within 72-66.
Seemingly on cue, Jackson answered Harks’ jumper with a timely basket in the lane, making the scoreboard a three-possession scenario at 74-66 with 2:27 remaining in the game.
“I felt like I had to score,” said Jackson, who is averaging 23.8 points per game. “We had a couple of turnovers and I didn’t want the game to get out of hand. I just decided to try and take things into my own hands. This is a huge victory for us.”
Charlie Morrissey and Nate Hanley scored 12 points each as RB had four players score in double figures. Watoris Slater added eight points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. McCloskey also went deep into his bench, getting solid efforts from Damonta Henry, Mike LeBeau, Luke Nortier and Jake Johnson.
“We knew this would be a tough game in a tough environment,” McCloskey said. “I thought a lot of guys contributed for us tonight.”
After a back and forth opening quarter, which the Bulldogs emerged holding a 20-17 lead, RB made its first significant move. Tied at 33-33 with two minutes left until halftime, the Bulldogs went on a 10-2 spurt highlighted by Morrissey’s steal and coast-to-coast basket plus one conversion. Earlier in the second quarter, Morrissey dropped a perfect bounce pass in transition to Dziagwa, who threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk. The high-flying Dziagwa finished 1-for-3 on dunk attempts.
“I just took off from too far on the second [dunk] and the third dunk I pulled down on the rim too hard,” said Dziagwa, with a laugh about the missed shots. “At least I got one. There’s always room for improvement, but I think we’re getting there as a team.”
Riverside-Brookfield shot the ball well, finishing 30-for-57 (52.6 percent) from the field. Glenbard South predictably rallied in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs made 5-of-8 free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.