The 16th Annual Riverside-Brookfield Summer Shootout is one of the premier boys high school basketball events in Illinois. The two-day tournament showcases several of the best teams and players in the Chicago area, along with occasional out-of-state squads like perennial powerhouse St. Louis Vashon.
Top teams at this year’s event include Chicago Public Schools Simeon, Whitney Young, Morgan Park, Bogan and Curie. There was not a shortage of elite players either, with West Aurora’s Marquese Walker, Young’s Tyler Beard, DePaul Prep’s Perry Cowan and Uplift’s Markese Jacobs headlining an impressive list of future college players.
“The event was another big success,” RBHS coach Mike Reingruber said. “The tournament brings the top city and suburban programs together under the same roof. Everyone competed, played hard and I hope it was a great experience for all the teams that participated.”
Of course, one notable player was missing from the competition. Junior D.J. Steward, a consensus top 50 player in the Class of 2020, recently left Fenwick. The Friars competed at the shootout without Steward and Damari Nixon, another talented junior transferring out of Fenwick. Both players have not named the high school they’ll be attending in the fall
While the loss of Steward and Nixon hurts the Friars’ outlook for next season, new head coach Staunton Peck used the shootout to gauge the progress of the team’s other notable returners and new additions on the varsity.
The same approach applies to Reingruber.
“I use summer for a lot of evaluating,” he said. “I give a lot of guys opportunities to perform in different situations. Our guys had some very good moments.”
RBHS won three games by a total of 10 points on Sunday to claim the third-place bracket championship. That’s an excellent accomplishment since RBHS beat Morton, St. Ignatius and Uplift to win the bracket.
Zach Vaia, who started for RBHS last season, scored 24 and 23 games in two games at the tournament. Last season, Vaia averaged 13.5 points and 5.3 assists while shooting 91 percent from the free throw line and 40 percent on 3-pointers. He’s a prototypical point guard who plays with intelligence and toughness.
Andrew Veon, another RBHS starter last season, played well over the weekend highlighted by a 20-point performance on Saturday. The 6-foot-5 Veon, who averaged 7.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, provides the Bulldogs a physical presence in the paint. They played key roles for RBHS, which finished 19-11, 10-2 as Metro Suburban Conference co-champions.
Patrick Hanley, Reggie Loury, Sam Grivetti and Charles Terry showed good signs of development for RBHS at the tourney as well.
In the second day of competition, Fenwick lost to St. Rita 67-48 in the championship game of the fourth-place bracket. The Friars beat Joliet West 39-37 and St. Joseph 59-45 in earlier games on Sunday. Overall, Fenwick finished 3-3 at the event.
Promising Fenwick sophomore Bryce Hopkins had 21 points for a single-game high Saturday. Varsity returners Solomon Oraegbu, Lucas Kolovitz and Hopkins will take on increased roles next season, considering the departures of Steward, Nixon and a solid senior class.
Several OPRF players showcased their skills at RBHS.
OPRF combo guard Dashon Enoch scored a personal-best 25 points against Uplift. He also played excellent defense against Kansas-bound Markese Jacobs. Charlie Hoehne scored a team-high 18 points against Marian Catholic and blocked seven shots against Uplift. Chase Robinson and Anthony Roberts contributed for the Huskies as well.
“Chase Robinson continued to show why he and Dashon will make one of the best backcourt tandems in the state next year,” OPRF coach Matt Maloney said. “Anthony Roberts continued his ability to score in a variety of ways.”
Maloney mentioned Justin Cross, Josh Smith, Kyren Gardner and Isaiah Barnes as promising newcomers who will provide OPRF with considerable depth.
“[Riverside-Brookfield head coach] Mike Reingruber runs a first-class tournament and has the best field of teams in the Midwest,” Maloney said. “This is an early barometer for our squad. It gives us an opportunity to assess what we need to build, polish and refine throughout June.”