Boys Basketball: Riverside-Brookfield gets past Ridgewood despite Andy Mazurczak's effort
Updated: February 24, 2012 10:27PM
It took the return of the big man and every second of the clock for host Riverside-Brookfield to overcome a tremendous effort by Andy Mazurczak and defeat Ridgewood 60-56.
With the victory, the Bulldogs (22-4, 12-0) won the Metro Suburban Conference outright and kept alive a streak of winning the conference for the 11th consecutive year.
“It felt so good to win this one,” R-B center Miki Ljuboja said. “This was such a big game and Andy is just an amazing player.”
Mazurczak scored a career high 35 points and did so while shooting 55% from the floor and making all 14 of his free throw attempts. The senior guard’s biggest shot though was the one that never found the basket. Mazurczak was driving the lane with his team trailing 56-54 when Luke Nortier came from behind to block the shot and grab the rebound. Nortier was fouled immediately with 16 seconds left to play.
“That was a huge block by Luke and it’s fitting that he is the one who got it,” R-B coach Tom McCloskey said. “Then he went down and made two huge free throws for us.”
Nortier canned both free throws to make it a two possession game that the Rebels (19-7, 10-2) could not overcome.
“I was getting hand-checked every time I drove the lane,” Mazurczak said. “I can’t complain about that (non-call). I should’ve finished stronger.”
Ljuboja returned to play after missing the previous two weeks with a left Achilles Heel injury. The 6-7 center entered the game at the beginning of the second quarter and made his presence felt immediately by opening the lane for his teammates who came back from a five point first quarter deficit to rally to within 29-27 at half.
Ljuboja then turned on his offensive game in the third quarter when he scored 10 of his 20 points to help open a 46-41 R-B lead. The junior also pulled down seven rebounds in limited playing time.
Damonta Henry scored 10 points for R-B including two free throws to clinch the game with two seconds left to play.
Pete Mroz scored 16 points for Ridgewood.
“There is no doubt that Andy is one of the top kids in the entire area,” Ridgewood coach Chris Mroz said. “He has put our basketball program on the map.”