In terms of records, Riverside-Brookfield and Lyons Township are teams headed in opposite directions.
The area rivals, who met earlier this season with RB (6-3) winning 78-60, share a common perspective when it comes to the 38th Annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic hosted by York this week. Both teams view the holiday tournament as an opportunity for improvement while hopefully picking up some wins along the way.
“Last season, I thought playing in the Tosh tournament really helped our team,” said LT coach Tom Sloan, who guided the Lions (currently 1-7) to a 26-3 campaign. “Although it doesn’t show in our record [this year], I think we are improving as a basketball team. Hopefully, playing at Tosh can serve as a springboard for the second half of our [regular] season.”
Downers South edged LT 56-55 in an overtime championship game thriller last year; and the Lions defeated RB in the 2009 Tosh title game.
While LT making a third straight trip to the championship game appears unlikely, RB is a legitimate contender behind tournament favorites De La Salle and defending champion Downers Grove South. St. Ignatius and Waubonsie Valley could also make some noise.
“[Tosh is] a great tournament featuring a lot of excellent basketball teams,” RB coach Tom McCloskey said. “We get to face several teams with different styles of play on consecutive days so that’s good for our team. The tournament gets a lot of fan support, and we’re excited about being back at Tosh.”
The Bulldogs are led by guards Damonta Henry (18.9 points per game) and Luke Nortier (12 ppg). Six-seven center Miki Ljuboja (12 points, 6.7 rebounds per game) has played very well in the post, while Louis Marino, Andrew Hanley and Eric Loury have provided additional perimeter threats for the up-tempo Bulldogs.
Tournament action began yesterday (after deadline) with RB taking on the host Dukes, who are coached by ex-De Paul star Tom Kleinschmidt. With a victory, the Bulldogs take on the winner of Wheaton Warrenville South vs. St. Ignatius tonight (Dec. 28 at 7:15 p.m.) If RB lost to York, the Bulldogs play at 5 p.m. tonight against the loser of WW South/St. Ignatius in the consolation bracket.
Led by seniors Kenny Smith, Joe Carroll and Matt Robare, LT faced Waubonsie Valley last night. The Lions play today against Naperville North/Kenwood either at 2:30 p.m. (if LT won) or 1:30 p.m. (if LT lost).
The championship game is scheduled for Friday (7:15 p.m.).