For the Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team, it’s been a long wait to compete at York’s annual Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament.
The Bulldogs (7-3) will finally get to play in the 32-team field for the first time since 2019. A COVID-19 outbreak in the squad kept the Bulldogs from participating last year after the pandemic resulted in no 2020 tournament and a limited spring 2021 season.
“We’re looking forward to it. We’re even extra hungry because we didn’t get to play last year,” RBHS coach Mike Reingruber said.
Undefeated Lyons Township (7-0) finished second in 2021 to eventual IHSA Class 4A state champion Glenbard West.
“York is always super competitive field and by far the deepest in the state with a lot of good teams,” Reingruber said. “We’re hoping to get some great games and learn more about our team.”
In first-round action on Dec. 27, the Bulldogs play Schaumburg at 11:30 a.m. and LTHS faces Batavia at 6 p.m. All teams are guaranteed at least four games and possibly a fifth.
Entering their Dec. 20 game against St. Edward, after the Landmark’s print deadline, RBHS had won four of its last five. The Bulldogs defeated St. Francis 81-58 on Dec. 16 to improve to 3-0 in the Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division.
LTHS moved to 3-0 in the West Suburban Conference Silver by beating York 58-38 in LaGrange.
The Bulldogs shot 62 percent against St. Francis (29 for 47) and used 24-point second and third quarters to turn an 18-14 deficit into a 62-48 advantage.
For the first time this season, four RBHS players finished in double figures in one game – Will Gonzalez (19 points), Arius Alijosius (19 points), Stefan Cicic (17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Hunter Ferguson (10 points). Steven Brown had three assists.
Gonzalez and Alijosius each had five threes as the Bulldogs shot 12 for 22 from three-point range.
“We shot it really well,” Reingruber said. “A big part of that was we really emphasized improving our ball movement and spacing the last couple of weeks in practice and they’re starting to figure it out.”
Leading the Lions’ victory were Nik Polonowski (19 points, 3 assists), Michael DeSimone (8 points, 4 rebounds), Jackson Niego (8 points, 8 assists), Carter Reid (5 points, 7 rebounds), Graham Smith (6 points) and Connor Carroll (4 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists).