By Marty Farmer
After losing three of four games at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic, the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team started off 2017 in better fashion with a 67-55 win against visiting Wheaton Academy Jan. 6.
Senior guards Jalen Brooks (17 points, 4 rebounds) and Jalen Clanton (15 points, 9 assists, 4 rebounds) paced the Bulldogs. A.J. Meindl scored 13 points and pulled down four rebounds, while Zach Vaia contributed 12 points. Junior guard Ryan Cicenas was the fifth RBHS player to reach double figures scoring with 10 points.
While the Bulldogs struggled at Tosh, they closed out the tourney with a convincing 74-55 victory against Elk Grove. RBHS pulled away in the second half with strong efforts again from Brooks (19 points, 6 rebounds) and Clanton (16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals). Vaia chipped in 10 points.
Despite losing two starters who left the team this winter and a four-game losing streak, RBHS (7-7, 3-2 Metro Suburban 3-2) can still contend for a 16th straight conference championship in head coach Tom McCloskey's final season.
The Bulldogs visit St. Edward Friday, Jan. 13 (7:30 p.m. tip off) in Elgin. RBHS returns home against Glenbard South Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.
RBHS girls basketball
Since senior guards Sam Bloom and Lyndsey Hoyd took over the Bulldogs' backcourt as freshmen in 2013, the team has won 20-plus games and been a contender in the Metro Suburban Conference on an annual basis.
However, Glenbard South has been the Bulldogs' nemesis the past four seasons. The Raiders dealt Bloom, Hoyd and the rest of the Bulldogs another frustrating conference loss, 44-32, on Jan. 3.
"Ugh, Glenbard South. I have seven losses to [Glenbard South] in my career and it stinks," Bloom said. "Every time we have played them, we have had our chances. We always give it our all. We had the perfect game plan [this year] but we didn't finish."
Hoyd scored a team-high 10 points and Bloom finished with seven points. Sophomore Maddie Meehan added six points, four rebounds and two blocks.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they made only 11 of 41 field goal attempts, including 6-for-26 from beyond the three-point arc. With only two points off turnovers and two fast break points, RBHS couldn't force a faster tempo either against the taller Raiders.
At 15-5, the Bulldogs are looking for a strong finish to a satisfying season.
"Our season has gone way better than expected," Bloom said. "We have played very well with some big wins. Our record proves it.
"Our coaching staff is amazing. They always go above and beyond. Coach Till and Coach Ruge have helped me so much in becoming the player I am."
RBHS girls gymnastics
The Bulldogs roll into 2017 with plenty of momentum after winning three duals and a triangular to close out last year. Upcoming home events include a Senior Night conference dual against Fenton in the East Gym on Wed., Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. and the RB Invite on Sat., Jan 21 at 8 a.m.