Niamh Larson. | File
Emily Organ

Riverside Brookfield High School senior Emily Organ understands the expectations of the girls basketball program. She joined varsity as a sophomore in Jordan Mack’s first season as head coach. She also played for Mack as a freshman on the junior varsity.

“We’re all under that same we-want-to-win mentality that Coach Mack has talked about a lot,” Organ said. “He’s pushed us hard at practice and to work really hard to hopefully see it pay off in games. We’re going to play hard every day to get better and put that toward our season.”

The Bulldogs have high expectations this season behind four returning starters — Organ, seniors Mayan Covarrubias and Niamh Larson and junior Alyssa Morris — and returning seniors Amanda Buckley, Kelley Tyler and Julia Madera.

Mayan Covarrubias

Forward Organ and guard Covarrubias earned All-Metro Suburban Conference honors last season, when the Bulldogs finished 11-19 and 4-6 in the MSC. They lost to Hinsdale Central 64-57 in the Class 4A RB Regional semifinals.

The season began at Hinsdale Central Tuesday against St. Francis in the 16-team Hinsdale South/Hinsdale Central Brenda Whitesell Tournament.

“There’s a lot of chemistry. They have a lot of fun on and off the court and that can go a long, long way,” Mack said. “We’re athletic. We can get up and down the floor when we’re together. Togetherness is going to be key.” 

They’re hopeful for an MSC title, the Bulldogs’ first winning season since 2020, and a first regional title since 2019. This year’s restructured MSC is with Elmwood Park, Ridgewood and Westmont.

“If we win conference, I think that would be a good start to our season,” Covarrubias said. “You always want to have a winning record. That’s kind of the next step for us, to continue to build off of last year.”

Niamh Larson

The three-sport Organ, who will play softball at Bradley, led the Bulldogs last season in scoring (9.3 points per game) and rebounds (6.7 per game) as well as steals (2.0) and deflections (2.9) per game.

Covarrubias, also a three-time state qualifier in girls golf, had a team-high 1.7 assists per game and averaged 3.0 points and 3.3 rebounds.

Larson, a forward who was second in scoring (8.3 ppg) and rebounds (4.5 per game), joined the football team this fall as the starting placekicker and also is an all-conference soccer player. Guard Morris was third in scoring (7.1 ppg), second in assists (1.5 per game) and averaged 2.5 rebounds.

“[Those four] have a lot of experience. I’m looking forward to seeing their growth this year,” Mack said. “We have a ton of seniors so it’ll be fun.” 

Guards Tyler (1.7 ppg, 1.4 rpg), Buckley (1.5 ppg. 1.4 rpg) and Madera (1.5 ppg, 1.1 rpg) will have expanded roles after seeing significant time off the bench. 

Varsity newcomers are senior Andrijana Nikovic, juniors Tali Herrera and Bella Perez and sophomores Arianna Hudson and Abby Weinert, who both played on the sophomore team last season.

“We’re looking for big things from [Hudson]. Very athletic, has a lot of potential,” Mack said.

Organ and Covarrubias agreed that team chemistry should help the team’s success. 

“Also, we have some individual talent. Some girls coming up who have not played on varsity who are really good,” Covarrubias said. “We definitely do have a lot of seniors. I think we all want our last year to be good so we all have that kind of mindset. We have a lot of talent and a lot of experience as well.”