The Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team split a pair of Metro Suburban Conference games last week to remain in the thick of the league race.

The Bulldogs (11-2, 4-1 Metro Suburban) went on a 19-5 run in the third quarter en route to a 51-42 win over visiting Ridgewood. Senior guard Hannah Claywell netted eight points in the opening quarter to spark RB to a 13-8 lead. The Rebels made a late push in the fourth quarter by whittling the Bulldogs’ lead to five points; however, RB maintained its composure down the stretch to secure the victory.

The Bulldogs’ Brittney JnoBaptiste scored a game-high 21 points and Claywell contributed 13 points. Janae Dabney (7 points) and Caroline Waas (6 points) also led RB, which completed a season sweep of Ridgewood. The Bulldogs notched a victory earlier this season over the Rebels 67-47 at the 10th Annual Bill VandeMerkt Tournament.

On Dec. 11, the Bulldogs lost 55-46 to host Glenbard South in Glen Ellyn. The conference rivals battled back and forth the entire game with RB up 27-23 at halftime and the Raiders holding a 42-40 advantage after three quarters. RB held a one-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, but Glenbard South sank two timely three-pointers paving the way to victory. Baptiste (14 points), Claywell (11 points) and Dabney (10 points) paced the Bulldogs offensively.

After their tussle with the Elmwood Park Tigers (Tuesday, after deadline), the Bulldogs will benefit from a week of practice before returning to action at their own RB Holiday Classic (Dec. 26-29). The Bulldogs, who have already claimed two tournament titles this season, will take on Lane, Reavis and Argo at the RB Holiday Classic.

“We’re looking forward to playing well against Elmwood Park and [then] getting ready for our tournament,” RB coach Dallas Till said. “Our RB tournament always offers a lot of teams and playing styles, so, it’s a good opportunity for people to come out and see some good basketball.”

Looking even further down the road, the Bulldogs were recently informed they will compete in a Class 4A Sectional featuring Trinity, Fenwick, Oak Park, Lyons Township, Hinsdale Central and Proviso East, a section that Till described as “stacked.”

In the meantime, RB hopes to continue its bid for a Metro Suburban Conference title led by senior stars JnoBaptiste and Claywell, 5-9 sophomore Dabney and a solid supporting cast of players.