Janae Dabney, center, is expected to take over the leadership of the Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team. (David Pierini/Staff Photographer)

Like every other team other than Glenbard South in the Metro Suburban Conference, the Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball squad lost several key players to graduation this past school year.

Considering the defending conference champion Bulldogs hope to make another title run next season, their summer workouts have been of paramount importance in the estimation of head coach Dallas Till.

This summer, Till has tried to mesh the Bulldogs’ considerable young talent together by putting the team into the Lisle summer league and by also hosting a two-week RBHS basketball camp. At Lisle, the Bulldogs finished 6-4 overall and lost 21-18 to Immaculate Conception in the league semifinals. The camp at RBHS focused on development of fundamentals over implementing the team’s offensive and defensive sets.

“The purpose of summer basketball is to evaluate players, build team camaraderie and play against teams with different styles,” Till said. “In a lot of our Lisle games, we didn’t have all of our top players, but I was pleased with the turnout. We had as many as 15 players at those games.”

While the Bulldogs’ top two scorers, Hannah Claywell and Brittney JnoBaptiste, have moved on to college, RBHS returns plenty of experienced talent in juniors Janae Dabney, Miranda Chavez and Angela Comicho.

The 5-foot-11 Dabney is a budding star who will be called upon to provide plenty of scoring, rebounding and defense along with leadership. She averaged 13 points and nine rebounds as the Bulldogs’ third option offensively last year.

“Janae shoots over 70 percent at the free throw line, she’s an eraser on the boards, and she can score in a variety of ways,” Till said. “She’s already a great player, but I think Janae has room for improvement.”

Complementing Dabney on the perimeter will be Chavez and Comicho who both earned valuable playing time last season.

“Miranda is a top defender and a good ball handler,” Till said. “I’m very proud of the way she has stepped up as a team leader this summer. Angela is a lot like Hannah [Claywell]. She has the potential to be a 15-20 points per game scorer, but she needs to continue to work hard, particularly on the defensive end of the floor.”

The Bulldogs also welcome back senior point guard Caroline Waas (a tenacious on-ball defender) along with other varsity returnees Rachel Malloy, Michelle Bilo, Samantha Cook, Sydney Martinez, Marisa Jensen and Renee Kunkel.

Till is also very excited about incoming freshmen Samantha Bloom and Lyndsey Hoyd. Bloom is an outstanding point guard prospect, who figures to see playing time immediately, while Hoyd is a pure shooter.

With four of five starters back next season, Glenbard South is the preseason favorite in the Metro Suburban; however, RBHS will be right in the mix with the Raiders.

“I like the makeup of our team,” Till said. “We are a pretty young basketball team, but the girls have a lot of talent and they are working hard to improve.”