The Riverside-Brookfield High School boys basketball team literally worked overtime last week to remain undefeated in the Metro Suburban Conference Blue Division.
Actually, make that three overtimes.
The Bulldogs survived a last-second scare in regulation and then controlled the overtimes before prevailing 72-66 over Aurora Christian on Jan. 19.
It was the first triple overtime game for RBHS coach Mike Reingruber as head coach and the first he could remember since being an assistant about 17 years ago.
“Give Aurora Christian a lot of credit. Every time we had a little lead, they fought back every single time,” Reingruber said. “Each overtime, we had the lead and Aurora kept fighting back. The third one, luckily, we prevailed.”
Junior Stefan Cicic (28 points, 28 rebounds) and Will Gonzalez (22 points, 5 rebounds) compiled NBA-like scoring numbers with the extra 12 minutes to power the Bulldogs (18-4, 6-0). Seniors Arius Alijosius (2 threes, 4 assists) and Rex Dockendorf each had eight points.
Cicic, in his first RBHS season since transferring from Niles Notre Dame, came within four rebounds of the single-game record of 32 in 1964 by Tom Kondla, the Bulldogs’ all-time career leading rebounder (814).
The Bulldogs led 38-35 after three quarters but trailed by four late before rallying behind steals from Gonzalez and Marques Turner and missed free throws to take a one-point lead. With 0.5 seconds remaining, the Eagles were awarded two free throws but made only one to force overtime at 51-51. The teams were tied 58-58 and 64-64 after the first two overtimes.
“Will made play after play in the fourth quarter and overtime and Stef was consistent throughout the game. They put us on their backs and really helped us win,” Reingruber said.
RBHS girls basketball
Junior Emily Organ and the RBHS girls basketball team nearly had their first meeting against IC Catholic Prep slip away.
The Bulldogs took full grasp of the rematch Jan. 17 and won the MSC Blue matchup 49-38 behind Organ (14 points, 10 rebounds), Niamh Larson (9 points), Julia Madera (8 points), Kelley Tyler (6 points, 6 rebounds), Ava Marrello (6 points) and Mayan Covarrubias and Luna Lloyd (4 rebounds each).
RBHS (10-14, 2-3 in MSC Blue) won the first meeting 54-48 in November in Elmhurst after seeing a 47-33 fourth-quarter lead dwindle to 49-48.
“They wanted to beat us real bad, but I think we improved on our offense especially. We’ve been hitting more of our shots, focusing on offense in practice,” Organ said. “And also keeping our defense good throughout the game was key.”
Organ helped on both ends with her double-double. Organ and Marrello each had two threes. Organ had four of the Bulldogs’ 10 offensive rebounds.
“I’ve kind of been working a lot on my defense,” Organ said. “I love the defensive side of this game and hustling and getting boards is really fun. And setting up my teammates for shots is what’s fun.”
Other players continue making strides, such as part-time starter Larson.
“Last year and towards the beginning of this year, I didn’t have much confidence so gaining it throughout practices I’ve been able to put up more shots and just feel more comfortable,” Larson said. “I think I’ve been doing better offensively but I still do my best to keep up defensively because that matters just as much.”