Although the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team’s unbeaten streak was snapped at eight games over the weekend, the first third of the season has been a rousing success by any measure.
Lopsided victories over highly regarded teams like Kenwood and Fenwick have the Bulldogs thinking big. In fact, since a slow start during coach Mike Reingruber’s debut last season, the Bulldogs have reeled off 26 wins in their last 33 games
The Bulldogs took their first loss this season on Saturday, Dec. 8 as Farragut rallied for a 54-44 win at the Team Rose Classic hosted by Mount Carmel.
Senior forward Reggie Loury led RBHS with 15 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Andrew Veon recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, while senior point guard Zach Vaia also reached double figures with 10 points.
“We shot a very uncharacteristic 6-for-31 from three point range,” Reingruber said. “Thankfully, Reggie shot it well as the rest of our team did not. The most disappointing thing about this game is I feel that Farragut played much harder and with more energy than our guys.
“In most of our other games, we have been the team that has played harder and we need to get back to that. The shots will fall.”
Aside from their loss to the Admirals, the Bulldogs (8-1, 3-0 Metro Suburban Conference) had a successful week with conference wins against Chicago Christian and Aurora Central Catholic.
RBHS called on its balance to beat Chicago Christian 59-46 in Palos Heights. The 6-foot-6 Veon led the way with 17 points. Vaia and Patrick Hanley scored 11 points apiece and Charles Terry added 10 points.
Against Aurora Central Catholic, Vaia played well in the backcourt with 19 points (5-for-8 on 3-pointers), six assists and four steals. Veon (14 points) and Hanley (13 points) offered support for the victors.
“We are obviously happy with our start, but I feel we took kind of a step back this week,” Reingruber said. “We need to get back to playing with the energy level and sense of urgency on every possession that we did in the first two weeks.”
The Bulldogs host Immaculate Conception on Friday, Dec. 14. Then, RBHS also welcomes Richards to town on Tuesday, Dec. 18 in a nonconference meeting. Both games start at 7 p.m.
Over the Christmas break, the Bulldogs will take part in the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic (Dec. 26-31) hosted by York High School.
The Friars (6-2, 2-1 Chicago Catholic League) picked up a pair of wins against Peoria Manual and St. Francis de Sales.
Bryce Hopkins continued his stellar play with 31 points and five rebounds in a 74-65 victory against visiting Peoria Manual. He scored 11 points in the first quarter and 19 by halftime as Fenwick built a 41-34 lead at halftime.
The sophomore standout had plenty of support from Solomon Oraegbu (20 points, 9 rebounds), Kaden Cobb (9 points) and Lucas Kolovitz (8 points, 5 rebounds) and Trey Pettigrew (7 assists). Oraegbu and Kolovitz are seniors with experience from playing last season, while Cobb and Pettigrew are promising freshmen.
Against St. Francis de Sales, Hopkins led the way again in scoring with 23 points. Cobb and Ryan Jackson each chipped in eight points.
The Friars visit Providence-St. Mel on Friday, Dec. 14 for a 7 p.m. tip-off. Fenwick hosts St. Rita on Friday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Over Christmas break, the Friars will take part in the prestigious Proviso West Holiday Tournament. The tournament features top area teams, including Whitney Young, Bogan, Leo and Uplift. Fenwick opens against Dunbar at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
The Lions earned a split at home against Downers Grove North and Argo.
LTHS dominated Argo from start to finish in a 79-37 nonconference victory on Saturday, Dec. 8. The Lions led 22-6 after one quarter and 39-18 at halftime as the team shot 57.7 percent (30-for-52) from the field.
The Lions also dished out 18 assists with only seven turnovers and had 13 steals. Nolan Niego led LTHS with 13 points. Michael Niedermeyer and Grant Niego contributed 11 points each and Tyrese Shines finished with nine points. Twelve players scored for the Lions.
Downers Grove North, one of the top contenders to win the West Suburban Conference Silver Division title, edged the Lions 60-56. Grant Niego and Nolan Niego paced LTHS with 13 and 11 points, respectively, while Shines had a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Although the Lions shot relatively well (44.7 percent) on the night, they struggled mightily from behind the 3-point arc by making just 2 of 16 attempts.
LTHS (4-3) hosts Oak Park-River Forest on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Led by seniors Dashon Enoch, Charlie Hoehne, Chase Robinson and Anthony Roberts, OPRF is the defending West Suburban Conference Silver Division champion. If the Lions hope to contend in the league, upsetting the Huskies would be a huge step in that direction.