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12/4/12 Riverside-Riverside Brookfields Damonta Henry goes to the basket against Providence. Stacia Timonere/for Sun Times Media
Damonta Henry has the confidence to score any moment opportunities arise. He also knows not to mess with a good thing.
The Riverside-Brookfield senior guard bided his time, facilitating for his teammates and then preparing to pounce. He scored a game-high 18 points to power the host Bulldogs’ 62-51 victory over Providence Tuesday night in Riverside.
Interestingly, he scored all of his points in the second and fourth quarter. “I am like that sometimes when I just don’t look to score because I don’t want to jeopardize the team chemistry,” the North Dakota recruit said.
Down 23-21 to start the third quarter, Riverside-Brookfield elevated its game at both ends. The Bulldogs (4-3) forced10 Celtics’ turnovers and utilized an 11-4 run to seize a 42-35 lead to start the fourth. “At halftime our coach (Tom McCloskey) really emphasized defense and extending our pressure,” Henry said.
From there, Henry took over. He scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. He also added four rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocked shots.
He also formed a strong inside-out combination with 6-8 senior center Miki Lluboja (15 points, seven rebounds, three assists).
“Defensively in the second half we played at a different level,” Lluboja said.
Ljuboja hurt the Celtics with his interior passing. At the start of the third quarter, he recorded three consecutive passes that yielded layups for the Bulldogs
“Teams are collapsing a lot on me, and that’s the adjustment I am starting to make,” he said.
The game was closer than the final score indicated. Behind star senior guard Kevin Kozol (17 points), the Celtics pulled within five points on separate occasions with just over three minutes to play. “We have a chance to be a pretty good team, after a few more games,” Kozol said. “We didn’t play that hot in the first half and we were still up two points.
“You saw we have a chance to be good, but we can also struggle when we don’t run much offense,” he said.
A 6-5 forward, Boykin impressed for the Celtics. He scored seven points in the fourth quarter that enabled Providence to hang around until Henry put the game away.
Liam Lesniak contributed 11 points and Eric Loury scored all nine of his points in the second half. Sophomore forward Miles Boykin added 11 points for the Celtics (4-2).