By Marty Farmer
The Riverside-Brookfield girls basketball team is aiming for a three-peat over the holidays as it pertains to 2012 tournament titles. The Bulldogs, who have already won the Argo Thanksgiving Tournament and the 10th annual Bill VandeMerkt Tournament this season, will host the RB Holiday Classic Tournament kicking off on Wednesday, Dec. 26 and running through Saturday, Dec. 29.
RB takes on Lane Tech (Dec. 26) and then plays Reavis (Dec. 27) and Argo (Dec. 28) in pool play of the eight-team field. All three games will tip off at 3:30 p.m. The Bulldogs will close the tournament with a game on Saturday (Dec. 29) with their opponent coming from the other pool play field and starting time still to be announced. Nazareth, McHenry and St. Francis headline the other side of the tournament.
Last year, Proviso West knocked off the Bulldogs in the tournament championship game.
With the exception of an overtime loss against Nazareth and a recent Metro Suburban Conference setback to Glenbard South, RB (12-2, 5-1) enters its hometown holiday tourney brimming with confidence and as a top contender to claim the championship.
"I told the girls we break our season down into phases. Our Christmas tournament is the next phase," RB coach Dallas Till said. "It should be a pretty entertaining, wide-open tournament, but I expect to win it and I hope our players have the same expectation."
Seniors Brittney JnoBaptiste and Hannah Claywell have formed a fairly lethal one-two punch at the offensive end of the floor with Baptiste posting points and rebounds in the paint, while Claywell is an excellent perimeter scorer and passer. Five-foot-9 sophomore Janae Dabney appears to be a star in the making with her versatile skill set. Like Baptiste, Dabney is also very effective inside and runs the floor well for a post player.
Supporting the Bulldogs "Big three" is a deep group of solid players, notably Caroline Waas, Emma Schander, Miranda Chavez, Angela Comicho and Stephanie Taccola. Waas is a solid point guard, while Comicho and Chavez are promising sophomore guards. Whether she's setting screens or grabbing a key rebound, Taccola has served as an effective player off the bench.
Upon completion of the RB Holiday Classic, the Bulldogs will enjoy approximately a two-week hiatus from competition to get in plenty of practice time and heal up any nagging injuries. RB jumps back into action on Jan. 12 at Fenton (5 p.m.).