The Riverside Brookfield boys basketball team displayed yet another workmanlike destruction of a conference foe Friday, this time dispatching Fenton 68-47.
The win keeps the Bulldogs at a perfect 5-0 in the Suburban Prairie (East) Conference. The last time the Bulldogs enjoyed a similar start was the 2003-04 season, when they finished a perfect 10-0. Surprisingly, the contest got off to a shaky start, with RB and Fenton turning the ball over several times. But a buzzer-beating trey at the end of the first quarter by Bulldog sophomore Chris Parrish gave RB more than an 11-8 lead?"he gave his team momentum.
RB (10-6, 5-0) began the second quarter on a mission, with Jon Baldermann and Matt Sandrik asserting themselves in the paint, while senior Stephen Wilhelm accounted for the outside game, draining two threes in the quarter. By the time the dust settled, RB was sitting on a 36-18 halftime lead and Fenton was left scratching its head and looking for answers.
"I thought we had an excellent second quarter," said RB coach Tom McCloskey. "They really had no answers for Baldermann in the paint and Wilhelm got the fans into the game with two really big threes. Chris Parrish and Mark Gorman also played very well. I really think this team is improving at a very fast rate and we are starting to cut down on mistakes, which is exactly what we need to happen at this point in the season."
Indeed, RB picked up where it left off in the third frame, moving the ball with ease and picking apart the Bison defense. Fenton also remained cold from the floor, while the Bulldogs continued to heat up. The quarter ended with RB leading 58-28, leaving no doubt to the outcome of the contest.
"I think this was a huge game for us, because it puts us in total control of our destiny," McCloskey said. "Also, it really was a tough loss for Fenton, because now they really have to battle to try and catch us. To be honest I was surprised by the win, because I think they are a better team than they showed. There is no doubt that it will be a battle playing the last conference game at their place because they will definitely be looking for revenge."
Gorman led the Bulldogs with 14 points and five steals, while Sandrik added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Baldermann also chipped in 12 points and Wilhelm finished with 10 points. The Bulldogs host Ridgewood on Friday, at 7 p.m. and play at Nazareth on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m.
"We really want to continue to play our game this week," McCloskey said. "Ridgewood is very scrappy and Nazareth is a big rival. Nazareth has a smaller gym and they always pack it with people, which make it a very interesting place to play. We have very high expectations this season and the kids are keeping motivated because we are trying to get the best possible seed for the State tournament. There is no doubt this was a big week for us, we just want to keep the momentum going."