The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team experienced a mixed bag of results at the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic.The Bulldogs (8-4, 3-0 Metro Suburban Conference) earned a pair of impressive wins over Glenbard East and Sandburg but also suffered a two-point loss to St. Ignatius and a highly disappointing 91-61 setback against Conant to close out the tourney.
After its 55-53 loss to St. Ignatius in the second round, the Bulldogs bounced back with a 69-59 win against Sandburg in the tournament’s consolation bracket.
RBHS held Sandburg to just two points in the first quarter en route to a 12-2 lead. The Bulldogs pulled away further in the second quarter, courtesy of a 12-0 run capped off by sophomore forward Mark Smith’s layup to build a 28-6 lead over the Eagles
“We made really good decisions offensively in the first half,” RBHS senior forward Jack VandeMerkt said. “We weren’t taking bad shots. We were either getting wide open three-pointers or layups.”
The Eagles found their shooting range in the second half as junior Niko Kogionis drained five three-pointers. Despite Sandburg’s offensive surge, RBHS controlled the boards to maintain its advantage.
“(Kogionis) got hot in the third quarter,” VandeMerkt said. “We still rebounded well, so we weren’t giving them second chances.”
VandeMerkt tallied 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while senior guard Will Kincanon led RBHS with a game-high 32 points. Point guard Daniko Jackson (eight points, four assists) also contributed for the victors.
“Kincanon had an outstanding game for us,” RBHS coach Tom McCloskey said. “He got it done in both halves. We know Sandburg is a really good shooting team, and it’s good to come out of here with a win.”
The Bulldogs opened the tournament with a 55-47 win over Glenbard East. Junior forward Sam Johnson led the way with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Jackson had seven points and four assists.
St. Ignatius derailed RBHS 55-53 to knock the Bulldogs out of the winners bracket. Kincanon scored 24 points and Johnson put up a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds against the Wolfpack.
“It was a tough loss (Friday) to St. Ignatius,” VandeMerkt said. “It’s been a really competitive tournament.”
The Bulldogs closed out their stay at Tosh hosted by York High School with a surprisingly lopsided 91-61 loss to Conant. Johnson scored 17 points and hauled down six rebounds for RBHS and Jackson dished out five assists. Kincanon earned all-tournament recognition.
“We played well against Glenbard East; the loss to St. Ignatius was a heartbreaker,” McCloskey said. “We love this tournament; it’s great preparation for our conference play.”
Since the completion of the Tosh tournament, the Bulldogs have had time to put in a good week of practice.
RBHS opens the second half of the season with two homes games, against Glenbard South (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Von Steuben (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.).
“I think we played a solid tournament overall besides the Conant game,” Kincanon said.”I think we’re in good shape in conference, but obviously the game coming up against Glenbard South is a big one. We just need to be more consistent.”
Marty Farmer contributed to this story.