Earlier this season, Fenton dealt the Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team its only Metro Suburban Conference loss. Friday’s re-match was a different story as the host Bulldogs rolled to a 42-23 win over the Bison.
Riverside-Brookfield raced out to a 12-0 lead fueled by Shaquita Slater’s six points. Fenton finally scored with eight seconds left in the first quarter on a three-pointer from Michelle McEvoy.
Trailing 17-9 at halftime, the Bison made their run in the third quarter as senior guard McKall Pugliese drained a pair of treys to cut RB’s lead to 17-16. The Bulldogs responded with a 13-5 spurt of their own to build a 30-21 advantage. Senior forward/center Anita Balciunas triggered the RB run by providing six points and plenty of energy at both ends of the court. Jessie Hutchens added a clever reverse layup off an inbounds possession.
“We all have our roles on this team,” Balciunas said. “I was actually injured for a while, but coach Rocco kept telling me we can use you. My job is to rebound and play defense.”
Riverside-Brookfield (13-3, 5-1) broke the game open by scoring 11 points to start the fourth quarter, and extending its lead to 41-21. Rocco cleared the RB bench with 1:58 remaining.
The 5-foot-10 Slater led the Bulldogs with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while senior guards Anna Tess and Hutchens each scored eight points apiece.
“Once we started getting some steals, we were able to run the court,” Hutchens said. “Running the court always gives us an advantage over another team. We’re definitely getting better and our athleticism is a big part of our game.”
Junior center Kelsey Egger (7 rebounds), and sophomore guard Elena Duve (4 rebounds) also played well. Eight players scored and every Bulldog saw action in a comprehensive team victory.
Although Fenton sharpshooters McEvoy and Pugliese scored nine points apiece, RB played well defensively with pressure all over the court.
“We tried hard, but every time at RB we play differently for some reason,” McEvoy said. “We aren’t intimidated, our shots just didn’t really fall tonight. The conference race is really close, so we’re still going to fight hard for No. 1.”
The Bulldogs caused multiple turnovers, extended their perimeter defense in the half court, and limited the rest of the Bison to five points.
“We worked on [defending their three-point shots] hard all week in practice,” Slater said. “We had strategies to stop their three-point shots. This is a conference game we wanted and coach [Rocco] just told us to play.”