Riverside-Brookfield High School sophomore Emily Organ has made quite the jump this girls basketball season from junior varsity to starting for the varsity.

“It’s definitely different. JV is a little less intense,” Organ said. 

Organ is among several varsity newcomers or first-time starters already finding success.

The Bulldogs had won four straight and five of their last six before losing to Oak Lawn 50-33 in second round of the Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament on Dec. 13.

RBHS (6-5, 0-1 in Metro Suburban Conference) completes pool play Dec. 15 with Aurora Central Catholic and plays Dec. 18 against the same-place finisher from the other pool.

Senior Rachel Wilczak and junior Bryce Pacourek each had 10 points Monday and junior Ava Marrello five with a fourth-quarter three-pointer. Wilczak also had eight rebounds and Pacourek added five steals.

The Bulldogs jumped ahead 6-0 on Oak Lawn (9-2) and stayed within a basket until midway through the third quarter. The Spartans ended the period with a 7-2 run to pull ahead 32-26 and then scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter for a 15-point advantage.

“We’ve made progress the past couple of games. Just today we kind of were flat the second half. Usually our energy is in the second half,” first-year RBHS coach Jordan Mack said. 

“We’ve just got to work on our intensity a little bit. They just outhustled us.” 

The Bulldogs showed probably their best fight in beating Hinsdale South 38-24 at home Dec. 4. Wilczak (10 points), Organ (9 points) and senior Shannon Malloy (7 points) were RBHS’ leading scorers. In their home and MSC opener Nov. 30, the Bulldogs lost to Immaculate Conception 53-45.

“[Hinsdale South] was a very physical game and overall we all played as a team,” Organ said. “I think we’re gradually getting better by working together as a team. There’s just little things that we’re continuing to work on that’ll help us. It was a little rough in the beginning in terms of getting used to playing with each other. The senior class last year was pretty good so it was a big change.” 

The Bulldogs’ winning streak also included double-digit victories over Lindblom 52-22 in the Oak Lawn opener, Westmont 56-35 and Ridgewood 51-37. RBHS also beat Zion-Benton 55-23 on Nov. 23 for seventh place at the Maine East Tournament after going 0-3 in pool play. The also won 53-45 at De La Salle on Nov. 17.