RBHS senior captain Caroline Wass is a solid point guard and excellent on-ball defender. She's a key player for the Bulldogs, who cruised to a 52-25 win over Addison Trail in their season opener on Nov. 18. (FILE PHOTO)

Bulldogs blast Addison Trail

RBHS girls basketball team’s depth on display in season opener

The Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball team rolled to a 52-25 win over Addison Trail in its season opener (Nov. 18). After establishing a 17-6 lead after one quarter, the Bulldogs dominated the second quarter with a 19-3 run to seize a comfortable 36-9 halftime advantage.

“The team performed better than I had hoped in the first game,” head coach Dallas Till said. “I was pleased with our energy and effort as well as our communication on the floor. There are a number of fundamental areas that we need to improve. I have a lot of respect for Addison Trail’s program and was extremely proud of the sound victory.”

5-foot-10 junior forward/center Janae Dabney scored a game-high 12 points and highly touted freshman Samantha Bloom netted nine points in her debut with the Bulldogs.

“Samantha Bloom directed our offense like a seasoned veteran in her first career varsity game,” Till said. “Janae came through as we expected. There were a number of players that did the intangible things that a successful team needs which don’t show up in the box score.”

Bloom and Caitie Rusen knocked down a pair of three-pointers each to provide RBHS some welcomed long range offense. Angela Comicho chipped in seven points off the bench and nine Bulldogs scored in the game.

Till also praised the contributions of captains Caroline Waas and Miranda Chavez (Dabney is also a team captain), along with solid efforts from Dana Rettke, Lindsay Hoyd, Sydney Martinez and Elexis Walker.

“I tell the girls it’s amazing how much we can accomplish if nobody cares who gets the credit,” Till said.

The Bulldogs are putting in a solid week of practice with their sights set on the upcoming Bill VandeMerkt Thanksgiving tournament. RBHS hosts the annual tourney, which runs Monday, Nov. 25 through Saturday, Nov. 30 this year. The Bulldogs open Metro Suburban Conference play at Fenton (7:30 p.m.) on Dec. 3.

“I love the VandeMerkt tournament for a number of reasons,” Till said. “It honors one of the great men (Bill VandeMerkt) in Riverside-Brookfield sports history. We enjoy playing in front of our home crowd for five days. It gives our fans an opportunity to watch us play without traveling and the kids are always extremely motivated to perform well.”

Along with assistant coach Mark Ruge, Till will call on a winning by committee approach among the players to offset the loss of star players Hannah Claywell and Brittney JnoBaptiste.

“Losing Hannah and Brittney to graduation was a devastating loss. They were program kids that left their mark and aren’t easily replaced,” Till said. “However, we have a strong nucleus of returning players in addition to an infusion of young talent. I’m excited to watch this group mature and grow. I believe the sky is the limit for this team.”