By Marty Farmer
After 16 years as Riverside-Brookfield High School's sophomore head boys basketball coach, Mike Reingruber coached his first game as the Bulldogs' varsity head coach against Rich East on Monday, Nov. 20.
Rich East, coached by former Chicago Bulls guard Craig Hodges, spoiled Reingruber's debut and the Bulldogs' season opener with a 105-95 win at the Bill VandeMerkt Thanksgiving Classic hosted by RBHS.
The Bulldogs also lost tourney games against Morton, 71-68, and Oak Park and River Forest, 71-52. RBHS earned its first victory of the season, 57-56 over Wheaton North.
"Obviously, we would rather not be 1-3, but just a couple of possessions made the difference," Reingruber said. "We just have to continue to get better. This tournament helps prepare us for the rest of the season, especially conference play."
Reingruber will certainly remember his first win as a varsity head coach, The Bulldogs trailed by eight points with 1:08 left in the fourth quarter against Wheaton North.
Then, Ryan Cicenas happened.
The 6-foot-4 senior guard made a pair of timely 3-pointers and scored a basket inside to ignite the Bulldogs' comeback win. He finished with 21 points and five rebounds.
"Ryan shot the ball well but also finished around the basket," Reingruber said about the Bulldogs' lone all-tournament team selection. "I was really happy with his defense throughout the week as well."
Along with Cicenas' heroics on offense, the Bulldogs played good defense down the stretch against Wheaton North. Junior guard Charles Terry, who led the late-game defensive surge, contributed nine points.
Here are highlights from the other RBHS games.
Against Rich East, Cicenas scored 29 points (7-for-9 on 3-pointers) with Zach Vaia (16 points, 6 assists), Andrew Veon (14 points), Terry (11 points) and Jason Bageanis (9 rebounds) also making strong contributions.
Cicenas led RBHS in scoring with 21 points against Morton. Vaia chipped in 20 points and Bageanis added 16 points (8-for-8 on shot attempts).
In the tourney finale against OPRF, Cicenas tallied a team-high 16 points with Reggie Loury adding 8 points. Bageanis flirted with a double-double, scoring eight points and pulling down eight rebounds.
"We talked about trying to limit their spurts, but they had a couple of 14-4, 10-0 type runs that made the difference against us," Reingruber said.
OPRF guard Dashon Enoch was named the tournament MVP. Cicenas, Charlie Hoehne (OPRF), Stephon Jordan (Morton), Vashawn Sims (Rich East), Josh Sorenson (Wheaton North) and Ramone Woods (Rich East) earned all-tournament team recognition.
RBHS (1-3) faces area rival Lyons Township on Friday, Dec. 1 at the Chicago Elite Classic hosted by University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.
"We're very excited about playing in such a prestigious tournament," Reingruber said. "It's great exposure for our players and program, especially playing a neighborhood rivalry game against LT. It should be a great atmosphere and a lot of fun."