What Coach Said: this week in RBHS girls basketball

Bulldogs dominating with 18-3 record

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By James Kay

Sports Editor

We are introducing a new section this week called, "What Coach Said." The section covers a different sport each week and includes interviews with varsity-level coaches. This week, we're highlighting girls basketball. While we will cover Riverside-Brookfield, Lyons Township, and Fenwick high schools, we are focusing on the RBHS girls basketball program (18-3) in this edition. Here is what Bulldogs' assistant coach Mark Ruge had to say about the team's success so far, as they continue to stampede their way to the playoffs.

On what has made this team so successful this season …

"We emphasize a team concept. It sounds cliché but we score a lot of points and they are all happening within the flow of our system. We like to play fast. We push the ball in transition and try to get out on the break before other teams can set up on defense. We continually attack the basket and we have done very well despite not having a traditional rim protector. We are athletic and fast and have to play to our strengths and that has helped us get to this point."

On what the recent stretch of games has provided for the team …

"We won both of those games, but we did struggle a little bit earlier on. We were forced to change up defenses, which was a really good test for us since we are 18-3 and we've been in the position where we are up 10-15 points and we can use our bench a little bit more. What happens with these games in December is that we come out of winter break having played so many games since we have two tournaments and start our conference play. I mean we had a stretch where we played six games in seven days if you can believe that. We give them a couple days off around New Year's and it just takes a couple of days to get back into the swing of things."

On exceeding expectations …

We had a solid foundation in place with Brenna [Loftus] and Sarah [Jnobaptiste], and what we needed to do was integrate the other kids. Cassie Hines was a key piece last year and she has done a lot of things for us this year. I thought Hannah [Organ] was going to be outstanding on the boards too.

To be honest with you, [Ruge and head coach Dallas Till] think we have overachieved at this point. We knew we would be good since we won conference last year, but we lost a few pieces.

We are at a point with the team where we have to strategize about how other teams are going to try to stop us. We have 18 wins. There aren't a lot of teams in the state that have 18 wins right now. We are very happy with where we are at.

On Brenna Loftus' remarkable career at RBHS …

What she is doing this year is incredible. She is on pace to score 2,000 points for her career. The biggest thing about her is her quickness. She can run up and down the court and other teams have tried to do more to defend her, but when we get the ball to her in the half court, she beats everyone. She's so fast. With her we have really emphasized inside scoring and using the backboard instead of settling for jump shots. This season, she's scored around 330 points in the paint. It's crazy.

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