By James Kay
Under head coach Dallas Till, Riverside-Brookfield High School's team has grown accustomed to regular season success. Since he took over the reins of the program seven years ago, Till has averaged 20.6 wins per season. With a new group, the team will vie for another 20-win season for RBHS. Here are three reasons why you need to follow RBHS basketball this season.
Up tempo, modern basketball
One of the team's biggest weaknesses this season is its lack of size. Only three of its 11 players are listed over 5-foot-8. While that might be an Achilles heel for the team, the three-point barrage the fans will witness this season is going to be entertaining to watch.
"We are going to play fast, and we are going to play fun," said Till. "We aren't going to play a lot of 35-40 games … those aren't the scores you are going to see from us. We aren't a big team so I have to cater to my personnel. This year, that means we have to get it and go."
During practice, Till has had his team emphasize ball movement and finding open space on the perimeter. One player to watch this season is senior Cassandra Hines. As she leads the team in the back court, Hines is a trigger-happy guard that is comfortable running isolation plays. With the team spreading the floor and getting out on the break this season, Hines could see a jump in production.
Brenna Loftus' versatility
If you don't know who Brenna Loftus is … change that.
In two years, the junior has already accumulated 1,000 points and is on pace to becoming the school's all-time leader in scoring. Basketball runs in her family's blood as she is the third Loftus sister to play for RBHS.
"We like to stress team goals but [Loftus] is a great individual player that helps make our team better," said Till. "Everyone on this team knows what she can bring to the table."
It will be interesting to see what Till decides to do with Loftus this season with the team's lack of size. Based on what assistant coach Mark Ruge told Riverside-Brookfield Landmark on Nov. 15, the projected starting five is Hines at the one, sophomore Hannah Organ will play off-ball at the two, Loftus slides in at the three while Sarah Jnobaptiste and Abigail Yager fill out the four and five, respectively.
On Nov. 15, Loftus displayed her ability to operate in the post and can finish from either side of the block. Plus, she's only one inch shorter than Jnobaptiste. Loftus gives Till the option to run small ball lineups that could feature her at the five. Outside of her obvious scoring ability, Loftus adds another dimension to Till's scheme.
While there are only three seniors on this team, there are a couple youngsters who stand out.
As previously mentioned, sophomore Hannah Organ looks like she could be an X-factor for this team this season. For now, she is going to get the starting nod at shooting guard and looks ready to break out for the Bulldogs. She exhibits good touch on her shot and showed a certain grittiness you wouldn't expect from a sophomore.
"I always say, 'Our success as a team is going to be contingent on how our new players transition to the varsity level,'" said Till. "We are going to need them to acclimate to our system, and they got a little taste for that in our summer league. We know what we have coming back, but we need the newcomers to fill the gaps from graduation."