When Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball star Janae Dabney suffered a season-ending torn ACL last month, Dana Rettke knew she would be required to do more.
The 6-7 sophomore center did a lot more last Wednesday.
Rettke tallied 18 points to go with eight blocks and six rebounds to lead the host Bulldogs to a morale-boosting 55-50 victory over local rival Lyons Township. It was the first time RBHS (18-3) has beaten the Lions since 2010.
“It was big,” Rettke said. “They’re obviously a bigger school and so it is always a big rivalry.
“We did really well. We ran our plays and we executed. We’ve got our momentum back now.”
This was the Bulldogs’ fourth game without Dabney, a senior who averaged 16 points and 12 rebounds. They seem to have adjusted, looking strong and confident in racing out to a 14-3 lead.
Rettke had six points, four boards and three blocks in the first quarter alone as RBHS enjoyed a 19-10 advantage.
“She understands that she’s going to have some more pressure on her now that
Janae’s out of there,” Riverside-Brookfield coach Dallas Till said. “She’s actually embracing that and starting to play a little bit more physical now.
“Unlike last year, she’s holding her ground early, posting up hard and kind of calling for the ball and making some post moves, and then she’s a very good passer. She passes out of the double teams very well and recognizes them very well, so I’m really proud of her for that.”
Till was also proud of how the Bulldogs refused to fold when the Lions (15-4), who were playing their third game in five days, quickly rallied behind the shooting of guard Vicki Swift, who sank a trio of three-pointers as the visitors used a 17-5 run to take a 20-19 lead.
The Lions led 37-32 in the final minute of the third quarter when Rettke scored off a lob pass from sophomore guard Samantha Bloom, whose steal and layup put the Bulldogs up 38-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Erin Corrigan scored on a baseline drive to put LTHS back in front with 6:55 left, but Rettke and Bloom combined for six points during an 8-1 run that gave RBHS the lead for good.
“I think I did well,” Rettke said. “I think I’m capable of stepping up in a bigger spot. We kind of rely on our guards and everyone else to pick up a few more rebounds, but I know I have to bring it every single night with [Dabney] out.”
Bloom also brought a great game. The 5-3 floor general scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the second half and also had seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Bloom made all eight of her free-throw attempts, including the game-clinching pair with: 04 left.
Foul shooting played a huge role in the outcome as the Bulldogs made 20-of-25 while the Lions were 9-for-17.
“It was exciting but not very well played on our behalf,” LTHS coach Paul Krick said. “They obviously took care of the ball and the turnovers killed us. They converted our turnovers to points, which was the difference in the game, in my opinion.”
Swift had 16 points to lead LTHS, which also got nine points from Nina Scaramella and eight from Gaby Galassini and Corrigan, who had a game-high 15 rebounds.
Miranda Chavez tallied seven points and Jessica Jno Baptiste added nine boards and two assists for the Bulldogs.
In conference action over the weekend, the Bulldogs earned a 52-37 win over Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst. Rettke scored 18 of her 20 points in the first half as RBHS raced out to a 30-15 lead. Hoyd finished with 17 points and Natalia Gheewala turned in her best performance this season with nine points, Gheewala filled in admirably for Bloom who suffered a broken nose.