By Marty Farmer
The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team lost 72-68 against visiting Aurora Central Catholic on Friday. The Bulldogs' losing streak reached seven games and the team is 8-14 overall with the playoffs starting Feb. 27.
As bleak as the Bulldogs' situation may appear now, a pregame ceremony honoring longtime RBHS head basketball coach Tom McCloskey certainly brightened the spirits of program supporters. Several former players and their families, plus former coaches, teachers, administrators and friends of RBHS basketball paid tribute to the highly respected McCloskey.
"I think we want to win for him as much as for us," RBHS senior guard Jalen Clanton said. "It's been a little frustrating this season but we are not quitting. We still have a lot to play for with the playoffs coming up."
While a 16th consecutive conference championship is unattainable, the Bulldogs (8-14, 3-6 Metro Suburban Conference) could be a dangerous team in the postseason.
Clanton is one of the best all-around guards in the Chicago area, while Ryan Cicenas and Zach Vaia are capable scorers and playmakers on the perimeter. Jalen Brooks is another strong player who scores, rebounds and defends for the Bulldogs. And with 356 careers wins at RBHS, McCloskey knows how to win.
Fenwick boys basketball
The Friars remained on their late season roll with a convincing 69-43 win against Bishop McNamara in the quarterfinals of the Chicago Catholic League playoffs.
Senior Jacob Keller scored 14 points and dished out eight assists. Freshman DJ Steward added 12 points and junior AJ Nixon had 10 points for Fenwick, which improved to 21-4.
Senior swingman Jamal Nixon (a Minnesota State recruit) passed Fenwick alum Corey Maggette to become the winningest player in program history with 93 wins.
RBHS girls gymnastics
The Bulldogs had four competitors in sectional competition but no state qualifiers. The closest was on floor, where senior Olivia Weimer's 8.8 was in range of the 9.075 at-large state cut. Weimer wasn't an individual sectional qualifier on beam, but competing as an all-arounder she scored a career-high 8.8 on the event, only .2 from the at-large state cut for those who were qualifiers.
LTHS girls gymnastics
LTHS sophomore Olivia Kalata advanced to state in all-around (36.500) beam (9.175) and floor (9.250) automatically with top-five sectional finishes at the Oswego Sectional.
Junior Julia Cozzi scored 8.825 on uneven bars was close to the 9.075 at-large state cut.
The Lions finished sixth at sectionals with a score 136.05.
RBHS girls basketball
The Bulldogs held on a for a 61-60 win against host Maine East as three players Sam Bloom (19 points), Lyndsey Hoyd (16) and Maddie Meehan (11) scored in double figures. Hoyd and Bloom also passed well with eight and six assists, respectively, while Meehan hauled down a team-high eight rebounds.
The Bulldogs had 12 steals and 18 points off turnovers against Maine East.
RBHS finished the regular season with a 21-9 record.
Riverside resident Jacob Kaminski (195 pounds) and Alex Aguilar (132) qualified for the state finals. Defeating Crystal Lake Central's O'Donnell 6-3 in the sectional final, Kaminsi became the first Fenwick freshman since Bobby Barnhisel to qualify for state in 2006.
Johnny Mologousis, a defending state champion, remained perfect this season at 42-0 by winning the Downers Grove North Sectional. He's the prohibitive favorite to win the state title at 170 pounds this weekend at the University of Illinois.
Sectional runner-ups Elias Garcia and Zach Villareal will also represent LTHS at the state finals.
LTHS boys swimming
The Lions' Henry Claesson and Spencer Walker have been invited to IL Swimming's 2017 Senior Elite Camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado this spring.