Whether or not the Riverside Brookfield boys basketball team managed to find its way around some tough opponents in the Farragut Regional (after deadline) this week, one thing is for sure: It’s been a season to remember for the Bulldogs.
On top of the list is capturing the Metro Suburban Conference title by defeating Fenton two out of three times this season and finishing with a 7-2 record.
“Another paper reported that Fenton was the champion,” said RB coach Tom McCloskey. “But, I met with our athletic director Otto Zemen and he said the athletic directors had gotten together and decided whatever team wins two out of the three match-ups would be champion. It really is a great feeling to reach that goal and I am proud of the kids.”
The Bulldogs also boasted their share of standouts this season, with 6-foot-6-inch senior Jon Baldermann, who averaged 17 points per game, and 6-3 junior guard Chris Parrish, who averaged 17 points, leading the way. Though only a junior, Parrish has already committed to play for Southern Illinois University. Southern Illinois is one of only 16 Division I basketball programs that has earned a birth in the NCAA tournament the past five years in a row.
“(Chris) definitely improved all facets of his game in the off-season and we had a big season from him,” McCloskey said. “Baldermann was also a good scorer for us and he was a big inside presence throughout the season.”
Along with Baldermann, RB will lose seniors Jake Nash and Dan Papadatos, but will have a fine supporting cast of juniors to step up and fill the void. Guard Dan Oswald turned in one of the best defensive games against Sean O’Reilly from Brother Rice, keeping the standout at bay.
The Bulldogs will also expect big things next year from sophomore guard Dontaye Bosley, who sparkled this season as the Bulldogs sixth man. Juniors Erron Johnson, Dan Szczesny and Billy Comrie will lead the way next year, while sophomores Shane Kilcoyne, Anthony Kilcoyne round out the squad next year.
The accolades do not end with the players. McCloskey picked up his 100th win at RB in an exciting 66-65 victory over Fenton on Jan. 19. All the hardware aside, McCloskey closes his 10th year as RB coach and continues to look toward the future.
“I really liked our team this year because I think we matched up very well against any team,” he said. “I think to be really successful you need to have good balance inside and out. I think that will continue next year and I am looking forward to it.”
The Bulldogs (10-16) edged Curie 52-51 to open the State playoffs Monday night.