By James Kay
Since the beginning of the season, the local girls basketball teams have shown that they can make noise in the playoffs when regular season play ends in a month. Here is recap of what went down over the last week for RBHS, LTHS and Fenwick girls hoops.
RBHS improves to 19-3
Against St. Edward High School, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 19-4 lead and never looked back. Junior Brenna Loftus put up 26 points in three quarters before head coach Dallas Till took out the starters in the fourth quarter. Loftus went 10-of-18 from the field and hit 6-of-11 from the free-throw line. Her teammate Sarah Jnobapiste scored 9 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.
"We had a few slow starts coming out of winter break, but we had more time to practice so we got back down to the basics," said assistant coach Mark Ruge. "[Against St. Edward], we were able to play the second unit for the entire fourth quarter so they got good reps."
Riverside-Brookfield High School's girls basketball team continues to overwhelm its opponents with a highly potent offense. Loftus is on pace to score 2,000 points in her career if she keeps up her current scoring output (she is averaging 29.3 points per game this season) while only averaging one 3-point attempt per game. One thing Ruge discussed in a conversation with The Landmark last week is that Loftus is getting to the rim more this season rather than relying on her jumper.
The team returns to action this week against St. Francis High School, Jan. 23 on the road, before taking on Aurora Central Catholic High School on Jan. 28.
LTHS takes down DGN in rivalry matchup
Since their matchup on Dec. 14, the Trojans and Lions have looked like different teams. Downers Grove North went 8-1 leading up to the Jan. 14 overtime game versus LTHS while the Lions were back at full strength getting junior Lily Courier back after she was sidelined for most of the first half of the season.
Like the previous matchup, the two rivals needed more than regulation to determine the outcome. However, the Lions outscored the Trojans 9-3 in OT to earn their 11th win of the season. Courier put up 10 points and 7 rebounds in the 40-34 win while her teammate Lindsay Hahn contributed 10 points.
On Jan. 18, the Lions hosted Downers Grove South and beat the Mustangs 59-44. LTHS is now 8-2 since Courier's return on Dec. 14.
"Going into that Montini Tournament [Dec. 27], I think a lot of teams weren't aware what were capable of," said LTHS head coach Meghan Hutchens in a phone call with The Landmark on Jan. 20. "That was our first look at having 15 healthy kids. We want to do well in the playoffs, but we are focused on finishing out the conference really strong. The coaching staff knew we were capable of this all summer and [the team] has worked their butts off with us and outside of the program to get to this point."
The Lions continue their march to the playoffs when they face Glenbard West on Jan. 25 on the road before taking on Trinity on Jan. 28 at home.
Fenwick ends week with two losses
One thing Friars' head coach Dave Power prides himself on before the season is scheduling the toughest teams in the state before the squad heads to the playoffs. Coming off finals week, Fenwick faced a tall task against St. Ignatius on the road on Jan. 17, followed by Benet on Jan. 18.
After going into the half tied 28-28, the Friars went cold against the Wolfpack shooting 25 percent from the field (13-for-51 on the night). St. Ignatius took advantage in the third quarter by going on an 18-6 run and ended up winning 60-42.
Fenwick didn't have much time to get over the loss before facing a Benet team that entered the game with a 17-2 record and a +293 point differential.
The Friars held their own against the Redwings and trailed by two with a few seconds left in the game. But they couldn't connect on two open looks from beyond the arc and lost 45-43.
"When you play a team like Benet, you go for the win in that situation," said Power about the last possession. "We knew we were facing a team that has been ranked first in the state or second in the state throughout the season. We didn't win but I was extremely proud of how this team bounced back after playing [St. Ignatius].
The Friars continue their season against Lincoln Way West on Jan. 23 at Willowbrook High School.