Shannon Malloy (with ball) nailed a 3-pointer with 23.8 seconds remaining in the game to overcome Proviso East on the Bulldogs’ Senior Night in Riverside on Jan. 20. | Sara Janz/Contributor

Starting senior guard Shannon Malloy usually is an important outside threat for the Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball team.

On Jan. 20, she was doing everything possible in other ways to help the Bulldogs win their Senior Night game against Proviso East.

“I jammed my thumb in the first quarter so I didn’t shoot as much. I was more of a passer,” Malloy said.  

Yet when the Bulldogs needed to score, Malloy caught a pass from junior Bryce Pacourek and immediately shot a successful three-pointer.

Her only basket of the game with 23.8 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a hard-fought 47-46 victory. 

“Awesome. I could breathe again,” said Malloy about her most memorable basket. “Because we haven’t won a lot of games recently and it was Senior Night, we all wanted it so bad that no one was giving up, epically, tonight.”

RBHS (8-16) honored its large senior class of Alyssa Chiquito, Nicole Gentile, Madison Lester, Malloy, Hannah Organ, Madison Schicker and Rachel Wilczak and then snapped a seven-game losing streak dramatically.

Organ (15 points, 12 rebounds) and Wilczak (8 points, 9 rebounds) were among key contributors with sophomore Emily Organ (9 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals) and juniors Luna Lloyd (4 points, 6 rebounds) and Ava Marrello (6 points), who hit two key second-half threes.

The Bulldogs went from a 30-20 deficit just before halftime to a 44-38 lead on Marrello’s second three with 7:09 left before going scoreless until Malloy’s basket. When the Pirates missed a free throw, Emily Organ got the rebound and started the passing combination with Pacourek and Malloy.

On its final possession, Proviso East missed a three, got the rebound but had its shot blocked and RBHS gained possession on a jump ball. The Bulldogs called a timeout with 7.1 seconds and the Organs and Pacourek passed down court to run out the clock.

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“It was a truly a great team win. Everyone played their part — Shannon at the end. Everyone playing physical in the beginning,” Hannah Organ said. 

“We started off a little slow but when we were all fully energetic in the fourth quarter, just picked it up, it makes it more fun and we obviously do a little bit better,” Wilczak added. “This is definitely one of [our best victories], because it’s one of the closest games where we had to step up and all, get it together.” 

Senior Night gifts included tiaras for all of the seniors. Malloy’s parents usually attend games, but she had roughly a dozen family members, aunts, uncles and boyfriends wearing blue Shannon Malloy Fan Club T-shirts Thursday.

“I think the student section helped, because they were super positive towards us,” Malloy said. “Then with all of our teammates, they did all of this up [with decorations], which was awesome, so it brought more positive energy, which I think helped us pull all the way through.”  

Hannah Organ, who will play softball at Miami (Ohio) University, has returned from an early-season knee injury to play basketball with Emily for the first time. Wilczak, who was struck in the nose at Rosary on Jan. 10, was reinjured against Proviso East and sat out roughly the final 12 minutes.

“I just wanted to stand up the whole time but we’re not allowed to do that [on the bench],” Wilczak said. “You’ve just got to jump for joy when you can.”