After enduring its first conference loss to Ridgewood two weeks ago, the Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team got back on track in the Metro Suburban Conference race with an impressive 52-42 win over Timothy Christian on Friday.
Senior Meghan Orgler set the tone by scoring six points early as RB (7-2, 3-1) raced out to a 17-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bulldogs built their advantage to 28-15 by halftime. With the exception of a late game push by the visiting Trojans, RB essentially won the intense conference battle from start to finish.
“Winning this [Timothy Christian] game was really important for our conference championship hopes,” RB coach Dallas Till said. “If we would have lost, it would have been more difficult to contend. Now we can kind of control our own destiny even though there is a still a lot of basketball left to be played [in conference].”
The Bulldogs made 14-of-18 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off Timothy Christian and its best shooter Cassidy Block. Balanced scoring outside the charity stripe also paved the way to victory as Elena Duve recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Orgler scored 11 points. Danielle Peco, Kiley Rusen and Hannah Claywell chipped in seven points apiece, and emerging junior Brittney JnoBaptiste had six points and seven rebounds. Reserves Brittany Janney, Alleigh VandeMerkt, Megan Walsen and Kaija Bole also played well for the deep-bench Bulldogs.
“We committed too many turnovers (25),” Till said, “but I thought we had balanced scoring, made our free throws and played good defense. We scored 17 points in the first quarter which was a great start for us. Timothy Christian is a good team but struggled a bit getting back into the game.”
The conference is up for grabs with RB, Timothy Christian and Glenbard South the early frontrunners.
“There is a lot of parity in our league,” Till said. “Every team has at least one loss so it will be exciting to see how the league race plays out. Our goal is to win conference.”
With its own Thanksgiving tournament title already in tow, the Bulldogs will look to claim their RB Holiday Classic championship as well. RB, Lane, Reavis, Argo, Proviso West, McHenry, Nazareth and Morton comprise a solid tournament field.
“Our kids love playing in the [RB] tournament,” Till said. “It’s our home gym and we get a good look at the other teams since we play the later games. Our fans can come out and support us without having to worry about traveling in winter weather.”
RB opens against Lane on Dec. 27 at 6:30 p.m. After taking on the Indians in their opener, the Bulldogs will be back in action on Dec. 28 and 29 – both games tipping off at 6:30 p.m.