The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team enjoyed a great 11-2 spring season limited by COVID restrictions and just kept on playing.
“We played a ton in the summer,” RBHS coach Mike Reingruber said. “We played a really competitive schedule in all of the big events and beat some really good teams and competed really well with teams considered in the top 10, 15 also.”
The Bulldogs carry that momentum and experience into this season behind six key returnees — 2021 All-Metro Suburban Conference seniors J.P. Hanley and Joevonn McCottry, seniors Joe Gilhooley, Cory Baker and Brady Vaia and sophomore Will Gonzalez.
“We have a bunch of guys that can pass, dribble and shoot. We have versatile guys who can do a bunch of things, and they share the ball well,” Reingruber said.
A varsity starter since the second half of sophomore year, Hanley averaged 16 points and six rebounds per game in the spring and shot 46 percent from three-point range. Hanley is the last of five brothers to play in the program since 2006.
“He’s a tremendous shooter. He’s added the versatility of getting to the basket,” Reingruber said. “[Also] he’s become a pretty good defender. All-around he brings it in pretty much every facet.”
McCottry (13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists per game), Baker (10 points) and Gilhooley (8 points, 5 rebounds, 40 percent 3-point shooting) added to the scoring depth along with Vaia (4 points, 3 assists) and Gonzalez (3 points).
Other team members are seniors C. Victor Juister, Edward Melidis and Damahrion Murrell and juniors Arius Alijosius, Rex Dockendorf, Hunter Ferguson, Aidan Hernandez, Moses Soto and Marques Turner Jr.
“We have a lot of scoring options. We tell guys we have to go with the hot hand,” Reingruber said. “If we’re all cooking at once, that’s even better. That’s a really good thing about this team. They’re unselfish and get guys the ball.”
RBHS has won conference 18 of the last 20 seasons.
Both spring losses came in overtime, including to Timothy Christian with the Metro Suburban Conference title at stake.
Reingruber said the Bulldogs will have to overcome their lack of overall size, particularly to control defensive rebounds.
“There’s a bunch of depth in the conference. I think it will be really challenging and we hope to be part of that hunt at the end,” Reingruber said.