Although the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team didn’t reach its goal of winning the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic, the Bulldogs still took away many positives from the annual tournament hosted by York High School.
RBHS won three of four games over four days with convincing victories against Metea Valley 68-57, Lake Forest 69-48 and Rolling Meadows 66-47.
The Bulldogs also continued to develop their bench, featuring players like Ryan Cicenas, Amari Smith, James Kaczmarczyk, Jalen Brooks, Calvell Randall and Dean Zigulich. Lastly, Skyler Nash has made a major impact since his debut around mid-December against Immaculate Conception. Nash averaged 13.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and shot 45.5 percent to make the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic All-Tournament team.
“Skyler has been a nice addition for us,” RBHS senior guard Daniko Jackson said. “He’s so versatile. Skyler can rebound and score and he brings good energy when he steps on the court.”
The Bulldogs’ only glitch at Tosh proved to be costly. After notching a pair of victories, RBHS came out flat in the quarterfinals and lost 74-56 to Naperville North. Tyler Carson scored a game-high 22 points including 6 of 9 from beyond the three-point arc. The Huskies, who shot 29-for-51 from the field (56.86 percent), built a 39-29 halftime advantage and never looked back in notching the upset of the tournament. In fact, Naperville North advanced to the title game losing to host York 45-40.
Nash led RBHS with 17 points and junior guard Jalen Clanton scored 16 points against Naperville North.
“We were disappointed we didn’t win the tournament,” RBHS coach Tom McCloskey said. “We played well in three games and Naperville North shot 58 percent in the game we lost. We’re focused on our next conference game against Glenbard South.”
The Bulldogs bounced back from losing to Naperville North with a victory against Metea Valley to close out their games at Tosh. Jackson led the way with 24 points and seven assists and senior center Mark Smith had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Clanton (10 points) and Nash (8 points, 6 rebounds) also played key roles for RBHS.
“We’re focusing on getting better every day,” Jackson said. “We are looking to play our best basketball in March during the playoffs.”
In the team’s other wins at Tosh, Nash had 14 points and seven rebounds against Rolling Meadows. The Bulldogs blew out Lake Forest 69-48 as Jackson finished with 20 points and six rebounds and Nash and Clanton scored 16 apiece.
“I think we have come a long way as a team but we’re still figuring things out,” Smith said. “We’re in a decent position now. I know the guys are looking forward to what comes next this season as far as big games.”