The anticipated showdown between Riverside-Brookfield and Illiana Christian for the Metro Suburban Conference championship never materialized on Friday night.

Led by seniors Jessie Hutchens (career-high 29 points), Anna Tess (18 points) and Shaquita Slater (17 points, 11 rebounds), RB cruised to a 70-45 win over the visiting Vikings. With their impressive victory, the Bulldogs (21-5) finished 9-1 in the Metro Suburban – a game better than Illiana Christian (18-8, 8-2). The victory clinched the Bulldogs’ eighth-straight conference title.

“This was our best disciplined performance of the year,” said RB coach Larry Rocco. “Our kids executed the game plan to perfection.”

Hutchens set the tone against Illiana with 12 points in the first quarter as RB raced out to a 25-12 lead. The 5-foot-9 point guard nailed a trio of three-pointers well beyond the arc, forcing the Vikings to double-team her.

The second quarter was Slater’s time to shine as she scored 10 points to extend the RB advantage to 43-26 at halftime. Tess added 11 during the first half.

“We wanted this one and we just played hard,” Slater said. “Jessie [Hutchens] said it right the other day that we’re becoming one strong team and we’re communicating better.”

Up 54-39 entering the fourth quarter, RB outscored the Vikings 16-6 the rest of the way with another strong effort from its bench. Starter Kristy Frampton also contributed five rebounds and five steals. Frampton’s best play occurred when she took a charge in the closing minutes.

“Kristy Frampton had the game of her life,” Rocco said. “She played great on both ends of the floor.”

Kelsey Egger (6 rebounds) and Anita Balciunas (6 rebounds), Maggie Zeleny, Kiley Rusen, Meghan Orgler, Kristin Kleinmeyer, Julie Minella and Yasmin Gonzalez all played in the second half.

Erinn Behn led Illiana with 14 points.

The Bulldogs enter the Class 3A State Playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Nazareth Sectional. Montini is the top seed followed by RB, No. 3 Wheaton Academy, No. 4 Glenbard South and No. 5 St. Joseph headlining the 22-team field.

Riverside-Brookfield will make its postseason debut tonight (6 p.m. at home) against the winner of Chicago U-High vs. Hirsch. With a win, the Bulldogs advance to the RB Regional championship game on Friday (7:30 p.m.) against the winner of Nazareth vs. DuSable.

“We have a tough regional,” Rocco said. “I know U-High is usually good and Hirsch has scored a lot of points. Nazareth is always tough and a neighborhood battle.”

If RB advances to the Nazareth Sectional, the Bulldogs likely will meet Wheaton Academy in one semifinal while sectional favorite Montini will face Glenbard South or St. Joseph in the other match-up. Despite losing Connecticut-bound Michala Johnson (knee injury), Montini (26-2) has plenty of firepower, notably Whitney Holloway and Alison Seberger. Sisters Alexa and Syndey Sharkey lead an explosive Wheaton Academy club, while St. Joe’s defeated RB 66-51 earlier this season.

“I think we can go far if we play like we did tonight [against Illiana Christian],” said Hutchens.