RIVERSIDE – Riverside Brookfield's boys basketball team clinched its 13th straight conference title Friday, but this one is a little different than the others to head coach Tom McCloskey.
"This one means a lot because we only have two seniors on the team," McCloskey said.
The Bulldogs sealed up the Metro Suburban Conference with a 74-53 win at Glenbard South, completing the season sweep of the Raiders, who are tied for second place in the league.
"We really struggled with Glenbard South last year," McCloskey said. "All summer and all fall we had this as a focus. For these guys to come in and play like we have in the conference is really a compliment to them."
The two seniors, Jack VandeMerkt and Will Kincanon, led RB (17-5, 10-0 MSC) once again. VandeMerkt put on a shooting display with 26 points, 18 coming from six 3-pointers. Kincanon scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Raiders led 14-13 after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs started the second quarter with an 8-0 run and led by 13 at halftime. A barrage of 3-pointers, 13 in total, from RB doomed the hosts.
"That's definitely a trademark of our program here," VandeMerkt said. "We shoot every day for a half hour. It's really all come down to screens. We emphasized, especially the last couple games, screening for each other and getting each other good looks."
On the defensive side, Sam Johnson grabbed 14 rebounds and sophomore Daniko Jackson limited Glenbard South leading scorer Chaun Rickette to 12 points.
The Bulldogs had it going on inside, on the perimeter, on the boards and defensively. There wasn't much the Raiders could do to match up.
"We had more size than them," McCloskey said. "I think our size bothered them. We were hitting some 3-point shots tonight and it would have been tough to beat us tonight."
"They shot the ball well tonight and we didn't, and with their size, when they didn't shoot the ball well, they were able to go get it," Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke said. "It makes for a long night."
Winning conference is always a goal for the program, but going undefeated in the league is something else the team can accomplish with just two games left.
"It's definitely the No. 1 goal every year, to win the conference title," VandeMerkt said. "It's a great accomplishment for the program, what coach McCloskey, coach Mike Reingruber and coach Dan Herbeck have done here. It's awesome to be a part of and it's something that I'm happy to see we could keep going."
Who: Ridgewood at Riverside Brookfield
What: Metro Suburban Conference boys basketball
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: 160 Ridgewood Rd., Riverside