Emily Organ

As a returning starter for the Riverside-Brookfield High School girls basketball team, junior forward Emily Organ is trying to come up big this season.

Organ begun by trying to play taller than her height during the Bulldogs’ first appearance in the 16-team Brenda Whitesell Tournament with games at Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South.

“I feel like I’ve been playing more in the post,” Organ said. “We lost a lot of bigs. [Senior] Devon Encher’s hurt. I’m not the biggest girl on the floor but playing big is a whole different story.”

The Bulldogs finished 12th on Nov. 25 by losing to St. Francis 48-34 at Hinsdale Central in the meeting of the two sixth-place bracket teams.

In their bracket at Hinsdale Central, the Bulldogs lost to eventual runner-up Lincoln-Way 73-30 on Nov. 15, beat Metea Valley 55-45 on Nov. 19 and lost to Plainfield North 55-33 on Nov. 21.

“Our bench was pretty positive the whole time. It’s easier to play better when you know your teammates are all supporting you on and off the court,” Organ said. 

Alyssa Morris

Against St. Francis, Organ had her second consecutive double-double with team bests of 12 points and 11 rebounds along with three assists. Other contributors were Alyssa Morris (7 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists), Ava Marrello (5 points, 3 steals), Amanda Buckley (4 points, 5 steals) and Niamh Larson (7 rebounds, 2 blocks).

The Metea Valley victory was the team highlight.

“Just going into that game, everyone was in the right mindset. We’re going to win this game,” Organ said. “If we could do that more against any team, no matter who we’re playing, that mindset is key.”

“We were more in unison. We were better on the boards,” RBHS coach Jordan Mack added. “And we were making shots, easy shots. And when you get the three-balls going, it’s easier to get a win.”

The victory also was a breakthrough for Larson, a junior who scored a single-game team-best 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including 3-for-3 from three-point range, with 10 rebounds. Bryce Pacourek (9 rebounds, 5 assists) and Marrello each added nine points.

“[Larson] was in the zone. She was confident,” Mack said. “That’s how it is with a lot of our girls, just confidence. She dominated that game. She has that ability to do it. It’s just believing that she can do it.”

Larson (15 points, 6 steals) and Organ (10 points, 11 rebounds) scored in double figures against Plainfield North. Luna Lloyd added seven points and nine rebounds.

Morris had eight points against Lincoln-Way East. Pacourek (5 rebounds), Organ and Marrello each scored five and Mayan Covarrubias four.

Morris also is a key varsity newcomer as a sophomore.

“Really it’s sort of the same [playing varsity], just faster, more high pace and I think we’re adjusting to it pretty well,” Morris said. “Together we’ve grown more, gotten better, always still positive. I feel like we have good momentum. We’d like to keep it going.”