The current portion of the Riverside-Brookfield boys basketball team’s schedule will be remembered as “life on the road” as the Bulldogs come down the home stretch of possibly an 11th-straight conference championship.
So far, so good for the road weary Bulldogs, who finished up a three-week long, seven-game slate away from home on Tuesday night at Fenton in Bensenville (after deadline). RB (19-4, 9-0 Metro Suburban Conference) had won 12-straight games before facing the Bison.
The Bulldogs took two steps forward toward securing another title with critical road wins at Glenbard South and Timothy Christian last week.
“We had a great week picking up two wins in tough environments,” RB coach Tim McCloskey said. “Glenbard South is a very talented team with size. We were a bit short-handed with injuries and foul trouble, so I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to win. Timothy Christian has always been a tough place to play so we’re happy to come out of there with a victory as well.”
RB earned its gritty 73-63 decision over Glenbard South on Friday. Junior guard Damonta Henry scored 28 points – 18 in the first half – and pulled down six rebounds, while all-everything senior swingman Luke Nortier put up 14 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
“Damonta had a great game,” McCloskey said. “He was scoring the ball, getting steals and was very active all over the court. Luke also contributed in a bunch of ways. I thought he did a great job helping to fill the void with Miki [Ljuboja] being out.”
Ljuboja scored only six points in five minutes before leaving the game due to an Achilles tendon injury. Ljuboja’s status is day to day. Nortier sat out most of the second quarter plagued by foul trouble and guard Eric Loury was knocked out of the game on a contact play.
Reserve Liam Lesniak chipped in 10 points, six boards and four assists. Senior forward Louis Marino added eight points and seven rebounds.
The Bulldogs controlled the game from start to finish, establishing a 23-13 lead after one quarter, a 38-23 halftime advantage, and extending their lead to over 20 points in the third quarter. Despite the absence of Ljuboja, the Bulldogs scored 46 points in the paint. The bench also came up big with 17 points and RB shot 26-for-51 from the floor with a 16 to 10 assists to turnovers count.
RB also notched a 65-51 win over Timothy Christian last week. The trio of Henry (21 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists), Ljuboja (17 points, 10 rebounds) and Nortier (10 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists) powered RB past the host Trojans on their Pack the Place night. Marino added seven points while Eric Loury and Lesniak netted five points apiece.
RB finally returns home this Friday for a 7 p.m. tip off against Illiana Christian.
A week later, the Bulldogs host Ridgewood at 7 p.m. on (Feb. 24) in a meeting that will hold serous conference title implications. At 8-1 in the league, the dangerous Rebels trail the Bulldogs by one game.