The Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball team has seven games over the next 10 days. Forget the dog days of summer, the undefeated Bulldogs will experience plenty of wear and tear (win or lose) in December alone.
“Sometimes I wonder about the scheduling [in December] with so many games over such a short period,” said RBHS coach Dallas Till “But I remind myself we’re shooting for bigger things at the end of the year. There’s no doubt about it; we’re busy in December. Hopefully, the girls will improve and learn from these games. This stretch will help prepare us for the regional and the tougher games at the end of the year.”
While the team will be tested against De La Salle, at Glenbard South and holiday tournament games at both Oak Lawn and RBHS, the Bulldogs (9-1, 2-0 Metro Suburban Conference) are already off to a superb start this season. RBHS picked up two wins over Fenton 82-38 and Richards 56-42 last week.
Lincoln-Way North dealt the Bulldogs their first loss of the season 61-51 at the Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament.
Despite a limited lineup due to a combination of sickness and injuries, the Bulldogs turned in a gritty effort against Richards at the Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament. The Bulldogs lead 20-7 after one quarter and 36-20 at halftime en route to victory.
Sophomore guards Samantha Bloom (16 points) and Lyndsey Hoyd (10 points) led offensively, while Janae Dabney chipped in seven points and anchored the Bulldogs’ interior defense, especially with 6-7 sophomore center Dana Rettke in foul trouble.
“We’re playing defense really well, it’s definitely our strong point,” Rettke said. “We also have really good shooters, so we’re doing a good job of reversing the ball for our guards to fire threes.”
The Bulldogs certainly shot the ball well against Fenton, turning in one of their best performances since Till took over the head coaching job.
“We were rolling and everything just clicked for us against Fenton,” Till said. “[Fenton] only lost to Glenbard South by 12 points, so we put in a lot of preparation time. [RBHS assistant Coach [Mark] Ruge watched a lot of film, breaking them down, and it paid off.”
Hoyd scored 18 points and Bloom contributed 17 points. The duo combined to make eight three-pointers and Caitie Rusen also made a pair of shots beyond the arc. Dabney had 14 points in the first half and every Bulldog scored in their rout of the Bison.
“I think our team is executing everything so much better this year,” Bloom said. “We run our plays and know our spots on the floor. We have room to improve as most teams do, but I think this season is our chance to be great.”
RBHS takes on host Glenbard South Thursday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in a huge matchup early in the conference schedule. Last year, the Raiders edged the Bulldogs to win the Metro Suburban championship. The burgeoning rivalry always offers a playoff atmosphere and intense, physical defense.
“If anyone can take down Glenbard South, it’s us,” Hoyd said. “I’m excited to see how we respond in these tough games we have coming up. We have to show up focused and confident.
“I believe our team is excelling on defense. The way we switch up our defense causes a lot of trouble for other teams. We’re also going to face some [defensive] pressure so we need to handle that well and push the ball up the floor.”