The Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball team is one of the best in the Metro Suburban Conference. Translating that success into the brutal Whitney Young Sectional of the Class 4A playoffs proved impossible for the Bulldogs.
Already hampered by the loss of star forward Janae Dabney to a torn ACL against Reavis on Dec. 27, RBHS also drew Oak Park and River Forest in the semifinals of the Simeon Regional.
Although the Huskies were seeded 15th in the sectional, they have talent, athleticism and size. OPRF defeated the fourth-seeded Bulldogs 55-40 on Dec. 17. Trailing the entire first half, RBHS made its move in the third quarter to take a five-point lead; however, the Huskies wore down the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter to rally for the victory. 6-7 sophomore center Dana Rettke scored 16 points for the Bulldogs (26-5, 9-3 Metro Suburban).
Even though RBHS didn’t advance as a team, senior guard Caitie Rusen made 9 of 15 shots in the regional 3-point competition to move on to the sectional competition at Whitney Young.
While RBHS will lose eight players to graduation, guards Samantha Bloom and Lyndsey Hoyd, forward Jessica JnoBaptiste and Rettke return next season.
RBHS boys basketball
With the Class 4A playoffs set for March 2, the Bulldogs enjoyed a memorable week. RBHS crushed visiting Glenbard South 101-63 to finish a perfect 12-0 in conference play. Coming off a 41-point, 14-rebound performance in a win against St. Edward, senior forward Sam Johnson had 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while Mark Smith finished with 18 points and eight boards against the Raiders. Jalen Clanton (14 points, 5 assists) and Daniko Jackson (13 points) also contributed for RBHS (23-2).
The Bulldogs were also notified of their status as the No. 1 seed in the 22-team field of the Morton Sectional. Whitney Young, Kenwood, Fenwick and Curie round out the top five seeds.
RBHS closes out the regular season with a pair of tough nonconference games at home this week against St. Ignatius (Tuesday, 7 p.m.) and St. Charles East (Friday, 7 p.m.).
Fenwick boys basketball
Junior forward Mike Ballard exploded for a career-high 36 points in the Friars’ 72-63 win against Hales Franciscan in the third place game of the Catholic League Tournament. Junior guard Mike Smith recorded a double-double of 15 points and 10 assists for Fenwick (20-7).
Fenwick girls basketball
Junior point guard Annie McKenna scored a game-high 26 points and teammate Kaitlin Aylward contributed 20 points to power Trinity past Fenwick 69-50 in the championship game of the Lyons Township Regional. Deja Cage scored 20 points for Fenwick (13-18).
Fenwick finished 14-18 this season. After a 4-11 start, the Friars won 8 of 10 games during the middle of the season with improved team chemistry, passing and defense. The Friars defeated Lyons Township 50-45 on its home floor in a Class 4A Lyons Regional semifinal. During the regular season, LTHS beat Fenwick 54-46.
“Beating LT on their home court was like winning a regional title but it took a lot of us,” Fenwick coach Dave Power said. “Early on, I think we played tight against Trinity. When we settled down, we played better but it was too big a hole to dig out of against a good team like Trinity.”
Cage scored a team-high 15 points and Mackowiak added 14 in the win over the Lions. Guard Nina Scaramella netted a career-high 20 points for LTHS (19-8), which won its first West Suburban Conference Silver Division title since 2005.
The varsity squad recently competed at the Team Dance Illinois competition at Northern Illinois University and finished in first place in the Lyrical Division and second place in the Hip Hop Division.
The junior varsity competed at the JV Invitational in Peoria, earning first place in Hip Hop and second in the Pom Division. The coaching staff includes: varsity coach Mary Krosnjar, junior varsity coach Brittany Knickelbein, and freshman coach Shannon Dominiak.