Expectations are always high for the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys and girls basketball programs. Coached by Tom McCloskey and Dallas Till, respectively, each team has already won the annual Bill VandeMerkt Thanksgiving Tournament title held at RBHS.
Each squad also figures to be a major contender in their respective races for a Metro Suburban Conference championship.
RBHS boys basketball
In the case of the boys program, nothing less than a conference title is expected considering the Bulldogs have won 13 league championships in a row. Led by McCloskey and his excellent coaching staff, it’s no surprise that RBHS is off a to a 5-0 start.
The Bulldogs defeated Wheaton Academy 70-60 in their conference opener last week. Senior Sam Johnson scored 30 points and hauled down seven rebounds. Sophomores Henry Trelenberg (10 points) and Jalen Clanton (7 points) continued their solid play as first-year varsity members. Junior guard Daniko Jackson, who won the MVP of the VandeMerkt tourney, dished out a season-high 11 assists and scored five points against Wheaton Academy.
RBHS travels to Elmhurst on Fri., Dec. 12 to take on Immaculate Conception in a 7 p.m. conference game.
RBHS girls basketball
The Bulldogs improved to 7-0 this season with a 60-50 victory against visiting Immaculate Conception. Natalia Gheewala and Samantha Bloom each made a three-pointer to propel RBHS to a 16-11 after one quarter. RBHS played excellent defense in the second quarter to build a 35-17 halftime advantage.
Although the Knights cut the Bulldogs’ lead to eight points late in the fourth quarter, the latter was never really threatened.
“I’m pleased with our attitude,” RBHS coach Dallas Till said. “The players haven’t been too concerned about their personal stats or playing time. The focus has been more about the team, which is obviously all a coach can ask for. There are a lot of things we can improve as well like our rebounding, physicality and conditioning.”
Senior forward Janae Dabney led RBHS with 15 points. The Bulldogs’ terrific trio of sophomores Samantha Bloom (11 points), Lyndsey Hoyd (9 points) and Dana Rettke (8 points) also contributed.
Gheewala, flourishing as a role player off the bench, finished with seven points.
“Natalia does all the little things to help us win,” Till said. “She’s always where she supposed to be on the court. Her stamina is better this year. I have a lot of confidence in Natalia coming off the bench.”
RBHS hosts Fenton in a conference matchup this week. After their game against the Bison, the Bulldogs will spend the rest of December competing in holiday tournaments at Oak Lawn and, at home, in the RBHS Holiday Classic Tournament (Dec. 22-27).
The team also faces conference rival Glenbard South in Glen Ellyn on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. Last year, the Raiders finished ahead of RBHS to win the conference championship.
LTHS boys basketball
Harrison Niego scored 20 points to power LTHS past Naperville North 56-46 on Saturday afternoon at the United Center. Jaquan Phipps chipped in 11 points for the Lions (5-1).
The Bulldogs picked up three wins last week, highlighted by a 38-34 decision over Vernon Hills. Junior Shannon Hickey notched a huge win at his weight class to secure the Bulldogs win against the Cougars. RBHS cruised past Hubbard 66-15 in the other match at its home triangular.
RBHS (3-2) also defeated Kennedy 48-24 in a nonconference dual match.
The Bulldogs will compete at the Rex Lewis Invite on Sat., Dec. 13. Hosted by Buffalo Grove High School, the tourney kicks off at 9:30 a.m.
RBHS girls gymnastics
The Bulldogs split a pair of competitions (118.55-88.6 win over Morton; 133.50-123.60 loss to Hinsdale South) to open the season.
RBHS Senior Lacey Smith and junior Alexia Kingzette dominated the action against Morton. Smith took first place in the uneven bars (8.7), balance beam (8.25) and floor exercise (9.1). She also finished second in the vault, behind Kingzette (8.5), en route to winning the all-around competition with a total of 34.35 points.
Campbell Hayes, Katie Polanski, Olivia Weimer, Amelia Huebner, Sophia Spirios, Reilly O’Donnell, Hailey Paisker, Emily Temmer and Jackie LaBelle have also contributed for the Bulldogs.