Boys’ basketball hot after 3rd place finish in Xmas tourney

Senior guard, Eric Loury, goes to work on defense against Conant.

Courtesy of RBHS Athletics

Senior guard, Eric Loury, goes to work on defense against Conant.

Steven Baer, Staff Reporter

While most students at RB were busy eating pie and opening up presents over break, the basketball team was hard at work  competing in the York Christmas Tournament.

The Bulldogs started off by beating Naperville North 79-70 in the first round. Damonta Henry, Miki Ljuboja, and Jack VanderMerkt all scored over 20 points. The next day Henry led the team to a hard fought 58-51 victory over Palatine with his 22 points. After that, the Bulldogs played against Kenwood. The Dogs played a very sloppy game turning the ball over 19 times.

However, despite the Bulldogs inability to take care of the ball, they still found a way to prevail as they pulled out a 65-61 nail-bitter. The win put them in the final four of the tournament.

In the semi-finals the Bulldogs went up against Conant. The Dogs’ shooting woes really hurt them, as they shot a measly 3-18 from beyond the arc, and 12-42 from the field. Even with the poor shooting the Dogs still found a way to send the game into overtime. The extra period, however, was dominated by Conant and the Dogs fell 44-38 in a low scoring affair. The loss set up RB for a matchup with Waubonise in which the winner would take 3rd place.

The Bulldog’s previous loss did not sit well with them. They bounced back later that day and played a motivated game against Waubonise. Ljuboja played like a man on a mission as he dropped 33 points. The 3-ball was also a huge factor in the game, as the dogs netted 10 treys. Henry acounted for three of them, including a half court buzzer beater to end the third quarter, all of this led to a 78-67 dominant win over Waubonise, and a 3rd place finish in the tournament.

According to an interview with the Chicago Sun Times Coach Tom McCloskey said, “They played probably the best four quarters I’ve seen them play all year.”

On Friday the Bulldogs returned to action after a two week layoff as they traveled to Norridge to take on the Ridgewood Rebels. The Bulldogs were led by junior guard Will Kincanon who scored 21 points including 4 3-pointers, grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists. Kincanon’s phenomenal play helped lead the Bulldogs to a nail biter of a finish. With no time on the clock, the Rebels were at the free throw line shooting two free throws, as they trailed 61-59. The RB 6th man, who had traveled out for the game, screamed emphatically, in hopes of causing a miss. Ridgewood’s free throw shooter succumbed to the pressure and distraction of the Bulldog’s cheering section and failed to tie the game, as he hit only one of two free throws.

The win helped improve the Bulldogs to 5-0 in conference, and 13-4 overall. The Bulldog’s next game is this Friday against the Elmwood Park Tigers, at Elmwood.