Even in defeat on Tuesday, Glenbard South's boys basketball team grew up a little bit.
Playing perennial Metro Suburban Conference power Riverside-Brookfield is never a treat, but Glenbard South hung tough in a 76-69 loss to the Bulldogs in Glen Ellyn.
Despite bulk minutes going to two sophomores and five juniors, the Raiders (1-8, 1-2) stayed right with R-B (8-3, 4-0) most of the night. After trailing by as many as 13 points in the second half, Glenbard South twice pulled within a point in the fourth quarter.
In the end, though, the Bulldogs proved too tough offensively. All five starters reached double-figure scoring led by 18 points from Liam Lesniak, who scored 14 of his points in the second half.
"We really had to fight," Lesniak said. "A lot of guys were in foul trouble and our bench did a great job keeping us in that game until the starters could come back in and finish it off."
Glenbard South's Chaun Rickette nearly finished off Riverside-Brookfield on his own. The sophomore guard was unstoppable at times while scoring a game-high 26 points, and his basket narrowed the deficit to 56-55 with 5:56 left in the game.
The Bulldogs, with three starters struggling with four fouls, responded with a 13-4 run including a clutch 3-pointer by Lesniak. Glenbard South spent the final two minutes trading points as R-B emerged unbeaten in the MSC.
"We certainly showed flashes of things we haven't seen this year," said Glenbard South coach Wade Hardtke. "Maybe we turned the corner right there. We're starting to see some things that we've been working on and starting to get them done."
Matching up with the Bulldogs wasn't easy, starting with the Raiders' Tim Marshall trying to slow 6-foot-8 Miki Ljuboja in the post. Marshall and Co. did a nice job holding him to 15 points, but that opened opportunities for others.
Damonta Henry finished with 14 points, Eric Loury had 12 points and Will Kincanon scored 10 points. Mark Mubach and John Marks countered with 10 points apiece for the Raiders, but the Bulldogs had too many scoring options to keep pace offensively.
"Fortunately we hung on, it was a tough conference win," said Bulldogs coach Tom McCloskey. "Glenbard South had us a little out of sync tonight, and we just had to keep working at it."
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