Per his big shot-making reputation, Riverside-Brookfield senior guard Jalen Clanton nailed a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter, forcing a 70-70 tie with Immaculate Conception on Friday.
The host Knights claimed the winning highlight, however, when Alex Meurer sank a corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds to pull off a stunning 73-70 upset.
The Bulldogs, who are vying for a 16th straight conference championship this season, fell to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the Metro Suburban Conference.
Trailing IC 18-5 early, the Bulldogs made an impressive comeback before Meurer’s heroics.
Clanton led RBHS with 25 points, five assists, five steals and four rebounds. Junior Ryan Cicenas (17 points), Henry Trelenberg (16 points, 5 rebounds) and Calvell Randall (7 rebounds) also contributed for the Bulldogs.
RBHS hosts Illiana Christian Friday, Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. The Bulldogs also play Hillcrest Sunday, Dec. 11 (4:15 p.m. tip-off) at the Derrick Rose Shootout hosted by Moraine Valley College.
Fenwick edges OPRF in OT
Fenwick senior Jacob Keller clearly heard the chants during the Friars’ 63-57 win in overtime against rival OPRF at the Chicago Elite Classic Friday night.
A sea of orange and blue clad Huskie fans serenaded the Friars’ 6-3 point guard with a mocking chorus of “intentional grounding” and “Plainfield North” among others (alluding to Fenwick’s controversial 18-17 loss to Plainfield North in the state semifinals of the Class 7A football playoffs).
The unflappable Keller offered a sweet stat line in response to the taunts: 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists, four steals, two blocks and a spectacular dunk in 31 minutes.
“The chants didn’t really affect me or our team,” Keller said. “They just gave us a little more spark. It was a great atmosphere to play in. OPRF was taking shots at us all game, but we have a group of guys who are locked in and focused on what we need to do to win.”
Fellow senior Jamal Nixon supported Keller with 18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals. Sophomore guard Damari Nixon (eight points) and reserves Mike O’Laughlin (6 points, 2 rebounds) and DJ Steward (5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists) also played key roles for the victors. Steward, a highly touted freshman, played with poise and confidence.
“We have a few young guys with pretty big roles in Damari and DJ,” Keller said. “Billy Bruce, AJ Nixon and Mike O’Laughlin also contribute in so many ways. I could talk all day about these guys.”
Fenwick (5-0) certainly needed all hands on deck to hold off the Huskies.
OPRF rolled into the early season showdown with plenty of momentum after winning the Bill VandeMerkt Thanksgiving Classic title in convincing fashion, highlighted by a 79-62 win over host Riverside-Brookfield.