The Riverside-Brookfield boys basketball team is tough enough to defend with its potent 1-2 punch of uber-quick junior guard Damonta Henry and powerful 6-foot-7 center Miki Ljuboja. When the Bulldogs put five players in double figures like they did in Sunday’s 81-68 victory over Cody (Mich.) at the MLK Dream Classic hosted by Whitney Young, they are virtually unbeatable.
Henry (16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists) and Ljuboja (14 points, 12 rebounds) along with the Bulldogs’ third star, Luke Nortier (14 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds) turned in their typically solid performances. Seniors Louis Marino and Andrew Hanley also joined the party by scoring 14 and 12 points respectively.
The Bulldogs (12-4) overwhelmed Cody via an 18-3 run in the first quarter and cruised the rest of the way. The RB lead ballooned to 26 points midway through the fourth quarter. For the game, RB scored 40 points in the paint and the Bulldogs’ bench put up 23 points as 10 players scored overall.
Other scores from the MLK Dream Classic included: Corliss 71, Powerhouse 61; Morris/Marshall (Wis.) 79, Westinghouse 69; North Lawndale 71, Leo 65; Orr 71, Seton 50; St. Ignatius 54, Farragut 37.
On Friday, RB rocked visiting Fenton 73-54 in Metro Suburban Conference action. The victory marked head coach Tom McCloskey’s 200th win at RB since 2001 and also extended the Bulldogs’ unbeaten record in conference to 4-0.
Ljuboja scored 22 points and pulled down eight boards, while Henry contributed 15 points and five assists. Hanley added nine points and eight rebounds. Junior guard Eric Loury, who earned his first start this season, played well with eight points. Per their style of play, the Bulldogs had 27 made baskets on 23 assists. RB finished shooting 50.9 percent on 27-for-53 field goal attempts.
While the Bulldogs remain tied for first place with Ridgewood in the conference race, followed closely by Glenbard South, RB begins arguably its toughest stretch of games this week. After hosting St. Laurence on Jan. 17 (after deadline), the Bulldogs play six consecutive league games on the road between Jan. 20 and Feb. 14, plus a game against Corliss at Chops Memorial Shootout (Sunday, Jan. 29 at North Park University 1:30 p.m. tip-off).
RB is vying for its 11th straight conference championship this season.