Boys Basketball: Riverside-Brookfield’s Miki Ljuboja overpowers Ridgewood

Story Image Miki Ljuboja of Riverside-Brookfield puts up a solid shot despite tight defense from Ridgewood. Patrick Gleason ~ For the Sun-Times
Story Image

Updated: January 28, 2012 12:41AM

Riverside-Brookfield junior Miki Ljuboja doesn’t exactly pass the look test.

The 6-7, 220 pound center seems a bit lumbering and unathletic-until he gets the basketball. Then, in a blink, Ljuboja will execute one of his many post moves and the ball is falling through the basket.

Ridgewood didn’t have an answer for the big man Friday, as Ljuboja scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the visiting Bulldogs’ 71-63 win.

Ljuboja is well aware that he’s not a jumping jack and has worked hard to make sure it doesn’t hamper his post game. He was 9-for-15 from the field.

“I have to make a good move and get my shot up fast,” Ljuboja said. “I’ve just put a lot of work in to get to this point. I was doing it every day all summer long.”

Plenty of local small colleges are hoping Ljuboja will fall to them, but he’s already receiving some interest from Western Michigan, Stanford, Nebraska-Omaha and a host of Division 2 and 3 schools.

As dominant as Ljuboja was in the post, the best player in the game was Ridgewood senior Andy Mazurczak, who scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Riverside-Brookfield (14-4, 5-0 Metro Suburban) led by eight at the half after holding Mazurczak to just four points. Mazurczak scored 12 consecutive points for the Rebels in the second half, cutting the lead to 46-43 after

two free throws with 6:37 to play.

The Bulldogs responded with a 12-4 run to end the threat. Damonta Henry (22 points) scored six in the decisive run.

“Mazurczak is a great player,” Riverside-Brookfield coach Tom McCloskey said. “In the first half we were able to contain him.”

Luke Nortier added eight points and 12 rebounds. The Bulldogs out-rebounded undersized Ridgewood 42-23, but the Rebels were able to stay in the game by taking care of the ball, committing only seven turnovers.

“They did a pretty good job defending [Mazurczak],” Ridgewood coach Chris Mroz said. “He had to work hard for all of his shots. They’re a great team.”

Peter Mroz scored 16 points for the Rebels (12-6, 5-1) and Adam Krozel added nine.

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