With three upcoming conference games to ring in 2017, the Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball team will know soon enough where it stands in terms of title contention.
The Bulldogs are 14-4 overall and 4-0 in the Metro Suburban, but the latter mark will be tested with upcoming road games at Glenbard South, Timothy Christian and Illiana Christian.
Regardless of what happens during their mini-gauntlet, the team produced a successful first half of the season. The Bulldogs capped off 2016 well, winning four of five games to earn third place at its own Riverside-Brookfield Girls Holiday Classic.
“Finishing third in a field of pretty strong teams at our tournament is a nice accomplishment,” RBHS coach Dallas Till said. “A lot of girls have been contributing to our success. We have some tough conference games coming up, but we’re cautiously optimistic about the rest of the season.”
The Bulldogs beat Shepard [55-36], De La Salle [51-40], Hinsdale South [53-40] and South Elgin 48-45.
Tournament champion Glenbard West defeated RBHS 55-25 for the latter’s only loss. Argo placed second at the tourney.
In an opening round win against Shepard, senior guard Samantha Bloom scored 13 points and pulled down four rebounds. Senior forward Maggie Shereck finished with 11 points and eight rebounds while senior guard Lyndsey Hoyd chipped in nine points.
“Shepard is in our sectional so it’s a good win for (sectional) seeding,” RBHS coach Dallas Till said. “We played well and led from start to finish against Shepard.”
Bloom also led the team in scoring with 10 points against De La Salle. Meehan just missed a double-double with eight points and eight rebounds. Hoyd scored seven points.
Trailing the scrappy Meteors in the fourth quarter, RBHS turned the game around with defense.
“We made some good stops on the defensive end,” Till said. “Maddie (Meehan) and Maggie (Shereck) rebounded well and provided a good interior defense. Sam (Bloom) and Lyndsey (Hoyd) do what they do, and we just hit some big shots overall.”
Against Hinsdale South, Hoyd led the way with 17 points, four rebounds and two steals. She went 9-for-11 at the free throw line. Bloom (15 points), Shereck (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Meehan (7 points, 12 rebounds) also contributed for the balanced victors.
Bloom was selected to the all-tournament team and Hoyd scored the 1,000 point of her career.
Along with consistent production from Bloom, Hoyd, Shereck and Meehan, Till cited Vasara Kulbis, Sarah JnoBaptiste and Sophia Bolton as improving players.
Colette Murray, Ashley Rivera, Alyssa Alvarado, Mary Maloney, Daisy Tinerella, Taylor Jensen and Therese Hanley and Morgan Litavecz round out a roster determined to win together rather than the exploits of one or two standout players.
“We have to play as a team to be successful,” Till said. “It’s also nice to see the development of each individual player.
“Even though she’s just a sophomore, Maddie is really starting to come along and she’s playing with more confidence. Maggie has given us an interior presence which we kind of lacked. Vasara helps provide that inside protection as well. Sophia has worked her way into the rotation.”