When the Riverside-Brookfield boys basketball team has its offense in full flight, it’s quite a sight to behold. The visiting Bulldogs treated fans in Burbank to an offensive clinic during their 74-45 win over St. Laurence last week.
Here are the “caution flammable” offensive numbers for the red-hot Bulldogs, who are on a six-game winning streak: 26-for-43 (60.5 percent) on field goal attempts (8-for-14 three-pointers), 14-for-17 from the free-throw line, 18 assists to only eight turnovers, 32 points in the paint and 22 points off the bench.
St. Laurence briefly enjoyed an 11-6 lead in the first quarter before RB outscored the Vikings 9-4 the rest of the period to take a 15-14 lead. RB (13-4, 4-0 Metro Suburban Conference) broke the game open with an explosive second quarter, outscoring St. Laurence 29-8 to seize a commanding 44-22 halftime advantage.
The Bulldogs’ individual stats reflected their scintillating team totals, led by star junior postman Mike Ljuboja, who put up 21 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Junior guard Damonta Henry tallied 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals, while Luke Nortier contributed 11 points and five boards. These three players, who are virtual locks to make all-conference at season’s end, have propelled the Bulldogs to 13 wins in 17 games this season. Eric Loury, who has emerged this season as a fixture in coach Tom McCloskey’s rotation, scored 13 points highlighted by a trio of three-pointers.
RB, vying for an 11th straight conference championship, faces its toughest test this Friday against host Ridgewood. The Rebels (12-5, 5-0), who have been in hot pursuit of dethroning the Bulldogs as league champs for several years now, appear poised to challenge RB once again. Coached by former St. Patrick star Chris Mroz, Ridgewood plays up-tempo basketball similar to the Bulldogs and features multiple scoring threats in Andy Mazurczak, Adam Krozel, Pete Mroz and Anthony Mroz.
The Bulldogs will counter with their formidable “Big Three” of Ljuboja, Henry and Nortier.
After the Ridgewood showdown, RB bounces right back into action on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. tipoff against Corliss at the Chops Memorial Shootout hosted by North Park University.