Ask any Metro Suburban Conference boys basketball coach before the season started which team was the favorite to win the league title, and Riverside-Brookfield was the definitive choice.
Three games into their conference slate, the Bulldogs have done nothing to dispel that prediction, notching two blowout victories over Fenton and Illiana Christian and a squeaker over Timothy Christian
The Bulldogs cruised to a 74-54 win against Illiana Christian in Lansing last week. RB (7-3, 3-0) raced out to a 20-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter and 43-24 at halftime. RB seized a 10-8 lead to open the contest and added a 12-2 spurt establishing early control of the Vikings.
Senior guard Damonta Henry returned to the lineup after an injury to turn in a solid all-around performance with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists. Center Miki Ljuboja flirted with a double-double, recording 18 points and nine boards, while Eric Loury also stuffed the stat sheet by tallying 10 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Reserve Jack VandeMerkt, the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback on the football team, showed off his versatility and athleticism with eight points highlighted by a monster dunk.
RB shot the ball very well, making 29 of 56 shots, notably connecting on 9 of 18 attempts from beyond the three-point arc. Illiana Christian struggled from the field all night, making only 20 of 70 shots.
Jon Zandstra netted a team-high 13 points for Illiana Christian, but the Vikings’ top scorer, Brandon Martin, was limited to 10 points. Loury served as the Bulldogs’ defensive stopper, holding the quick, explosive Martin in check.
The Bulldogs now begin preparations for the Jack Tosh Christmas Classic, which runs from December 26-29 at York.
After splitting their first four games amid a very tough field at the Bill VandeMerkt Tournament, the Bulldogs have warmed up with five wins in their last six games. RB also appears to be getting healthier as starters Henry and Will Kincanon have dealt with early-season injuries.