The Riverside Brookfield girls basketball team can call themselves champions for the fourth-straight year.
The Bulldogs (25-3, 10-0) actually clinched the 2005-06 Suburban Prairie (East) League championship title on Feb. 3 against Elmwood Park, but needed to defeat Fenton to ensure a perfect 10-0 season. They didn't disappoint, taking an early 11-0 lead en route to a 59-50 win and adding yet another league title to their trophy case. In fact, the win marks the fourth straight year that the Bulldogs completed a clean sweep in the league.
Against Fenton, the Bulldogs kept with the effective formula they have used to dissolve teams all season, utilizing tough defense and even more potent offense. Yet another highlight of the game was senior Maggie McCloskey shattering the RB single-season record for points, chipping in 19 points to finish the regular season with 611 total points. Also, Erin Pfieffer recently broke the RB season rebounding record, finishing the year with 327 rebounds. Based on these very impressive performances, RB coach Larry Rocco had nothing but praise for this talented senior duo.
"We clinched the league against Elmwood Park, but the win against Fenton was especially sweet because we finished undefeated in the conference for the fourth year in a row," he said. "It is also pretty incredible that Maggie McCloskey and Erin Pfeiffer both went 38-0 in the league during their four years on varsity. Really, those two are the main reason we were able to achieve such a feat. We have had plenty of other kids step up, but their outstanding play throughout all four years has been the key."
The Bulldogs also had there hands full on Feb. 7 against Guerin, but hung on for a 63-58 victory. RB led 25-11 after the first quarter, but foul trouble allowed Guerin back into the contest. Pfieffer, Sarah Strait and Kristen Zeleny were forced to sit most of the second quarter with two fouls each, nevertheless RB kept the Guerin attack at bay and entered the locker room with a 38-22 lead.
Guerin continued to battle back in the second half, cutting RB's lead to 59-56 with just two minutes remaining. Clutch free throw shooting from Maggie McCloskey and Katelyn McCloskey and a defensive spark from Pfieffer, however, ensured the win. Maggie McCloskey finished with 31 points, while Katelyn McCloskey followed with 23 points and six rebounds.
Now, with the regular season out of the way, RB awaits the winner of the Nazareth/Lyons Township game in the first round of the regional tourney. Rocco knows his squad will have its hands full with either team.
"I think both of those teams are playing their best basketball of the year," he said. "I really think we have one of the toughest regionals of the four. So, we have one day of practice to prepare for both teams and we will go from there. But, no matter what happens in the tourney, this season was a big success. I think the State tourney involves some luck too, whereas winning 10 straight games really shows what type of team we have?it has been a great year."