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Bulldogs get handle on height advantage

RIVERSIDE – Having a tall team and being able to take advantage of that height are two different things.

Riverside Brookfield’s boys basketball team has plenty of height to go around in the form of four players standing 6-foot-5 or taller. However, the Bulldogs have struggled in certain matchups against quicker teams that were able to take the size advantage out of the game.

RB might be figuring it out though. The Bulldogs won a pair of games over the weekend and put their height to good use. Friday’s 69-54 win against Metro Suburban Conference rival Glenbard South was proof of potential progress.

“I thought it was an excellent game,” RB head coach Tom McCloskey said. “We beat a really good team. I thought we executed well. Our defense, we played really good team defense and contained their excellent players pretty well. Offensively, we got the ball inside. I thought we did a really nice job of rebounding [Friday night], which was huge offensively and defensively.”

Senior Jack VandeMerkt led the Bulldogs with 18 points and 14 rebounds. Sam Johnson contributed 17 points. Will Kincanon scored 13 points and dished out six assists.

RB is now 9-4 overall and 4-0 in the MSC ahead of Friday’s game at Ridgewood.

“We knew we had that height advantage and we had to rebound and play inside-out,” VandeMerkt said.

The key going forward is to minimize the turnovers against quicker teams that can put pressure on RB’s guards. Glenbard South is a quicker team, but was unable to force the Bulldogs into enough turnovers.

“[Our height] is definitely an advantage, except against really quick teams, and then we tend to turn the ball over a little bit,” VandeMerkt said.

The Bulldogs made it back-to-back wins by defeating Von Steuben 72-57 on Saturday. RB led by as many as 30 points in the third quarter and cruised down the stretch. VandeMerkt (26 points), Kincanon (15) and Johnson (11) again scored in double figures.

As the Bulldogs prepare for the final six weeks of the regular season, the focus is on winning the MSC again and trying to earn a good seed for the postseason.

“We got to win our conference and get ready for the state tournament,” VandeMerkt said.

Upcoming games

• RB at Ridgewood, 7 p.m. Friday

• RB vs. Englewood at Whitney Young MLK Dream Classic, 5 p.m. Saturday

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