The Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team capped off its outstanding regular season with a 56-23 win over visiting Elmwood Park on Friday.
The Bulldogs (23-4, 11-1 Metro Suburban Conference) celebrated the memorable night by claiming an outright conference title and honoring seniors Hannah Claywell, Brittney JnoBaptiste, Emma Schander, Kaija Bole and Stephanie Taccola.
Leading 19-9 at the half, the Bulldogs put the game away with an 18-4 run in the third quarter. Claywell led RB with 12 points while Bole and Angela Comicho each scored 10 points. Sophomore center Janae Dabney chipped in six points. Sydney Martinez and Taccola tallied four points apiece.
“Clinching conference especially on Senior Night is awesome,” Schander said. “Our coaches and teammates made it really special for the seniors. I think we have been successful this season because of our chemistry. Everybody gets along and we play for each other.”
In addition to claiming a pair of Thanksgiving Tournament titles, the Bulldogs showed their mettle with several key conference victories, notably a 55-44 win at Fenton in which RB rallied from 22 points down and a 54-40 home win over highly-regarded Glenbard South.
Claywell (14 points/2 steals per game) and JnoBaptiste (12 points/7 rebounds per game) are probable all-conference selections, while Dabney (10 points, 7 rebounds) is also a possible all-league player and burgeoning star.
“If someone told me before the season we would go 23-4, I probably would have laughed or thought [that person] was crazy,” RB coach Dallas Till said. “I knew we had some good returning players, but we jelled so well as a team. It’s a special group, especially the seniors, who I have kind of watched come up through the program.”
Till also praised the contributions of assistant coach Mark Ruge, team managers Ryan Lukas, Karely Moncada and Anthony Rangol along with statistician extraordinaire Lou Kucera.
“It’s really been a fun group to coach.” Till said. “Over the last month or so, I think we all have been cherishing every moment together.”
The party’s not over yet, however, for the red-hot Bulldogs. Regional host RB is likely to advance to Thursday’s regional (7:30 p.m.) final where it’s probable powerhouse Trinity will be waiting.
“We’re excited to win conference and host a regional,” Schander said. “Our focus is on Kenwood and to hopefully move on to the [regional] championship game.”