Junior Stefan Cicic is getting used to life with the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball program.
Another big rivalry game Feb. 4. And another outright Metro Suburban Conference Blue title soon.
The Bulldogs (21-5) earned a wild 58-57 victory at Morton on Cicic’s one-timer putback of a Will Gonzalez missed mid-range shot with two seconds left.
“I thought the shot was going to go in because Will Gonzalez is a really good player. But seeing the angle I knew it wasn’t, so I jumped as high as I could and got the rebound and quickly tipped it back up,” said Cicic, the 6-foot-11 transfer this season from Niles-Notre Dame. “Luckily the shot went in and everyone was just excited. I was just really happy and surprised at the same time.”
Gonzalez collected 20 points, Cicic had 19 points and 17 rebounds, 15 of them offensive, and Arius Alijosius had 10 points. Marques Turner (8 rebounds), Steven Brown (5 points) and Hunter Ferguson (5 rebounds) also contributed. Gonzalez and Alijosius each had two 3-pointers and three steals.
RBHS led Morton 11-3 in free throws, 15-6 in second-chance points and 14-4 in transition points to offset the Mustangs shooting 58 percent from 2-point range (21 for 36) with three 3-pointers.
“[Cicic] had a ton of second-chance points for us,” RBHS coach Mike Reingruber said. “Will was very good creating and making plays and Stefan did a great job cleaning the offensive glass and putting in stick backs. And Marques Turner did a great job on the defensive glass in the second half.”
Cicic had 14 points and eight rebounds in the Bulldogs’ 61-49 loss at rival Lyons Township on Jan. 28.
“I like playing against rival schools because I really enjoy the competitiveness,” Cicic said. “The games are good. There’s a lot of trash talk, physical stuff. I really like it.”
In MSC Blue play, the Bulldogs improved to 9-0 by beating St. Francis 55-46 on Jan. 31 after opening a 26-17 halftime lead.
With three conference games left, the Bulldogs are on the verge of their second straight conference title. Since 2002, they’ve been conference champions all but two times.
Cicic (21 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists), Ferguson (13 points, 6 rebounds), Gonzalez (11 points, 3 assists) and Alijosius (4 rebounds) fueled the Bulldogs.
“[At Notre Dame] we’d never get to win conference or really celebrate or get to hold the plaque. It was Benet [usually winning],” Cicic said.
RBHS girls basketball
The RBHS girls basketball team lost MSC Blue games to St. Francis 46-29 on Feb. 2 and Timothy Christian 67-40 Jan. 31 and to Oak Park and River Forest 46-44 Jan. 30.
The Bulldogs (11-17, 2-5 in MSC Blue) are the No. 12 seed in the IHSA Class 4A Proviso East Sectional and play No. 7 Hinsdale Central (9-18) at home in the RBHS Regional semifinals on Feb. 13.
Top RBHS performances included Ava Marrello (14 points with 3 threes), Emily Organ (8 points) and Alyssa Morris and Niamh Larson (6 points each) against Timothy and Larson (9 points, 8 rebounds), Organ (7 points, 7 rebounds), Morris (7 points) and Luna Lloyd (3 steals) against St. Francis.
At OPRF, the Bulldogs nearly overcame a 36-26 deficit after three quarters behind Mayan Covarrubias and Organ (13 points each), Bryce Pacourek (8 points) and Morris (6 points).