Having a ball during the summer

RB b-ball team preps for winter with decent showing at tourney

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By CHRIS PUMMER

The scores didn't mean much, and frankly, neither did the wins and losses. But the Riverside-Brookfield boys' basketball team was happy with its showing over the weekend at the 11th Annual Minuteman Classic.

At the prestigious tournament, which brings together many of the Chicago area's top teams, the Bulldogs went a respectable 3-2, despite missing guard Matt Sandrik, who sat out with a broken finger, and sophomore Chris Parrish.

"I think in the summer it's important to gain momentum as a team and to grow together," Bulldogs coach Tom McCloskey said. "You want to find out what our strengths and weaknesses are. We want to analyze the kids, and this tournament gives you a good opportunity to learn about the team for the upcoming year."

RB opened the tournament with a 57-52 win against Fenwick, and climbed farther up the winners' bracket with a 50-49 win against Homewood-Flossmoor in a sudden death overtime game.

Things didn't go as smoothly for the Bulldogs on Saturday, as they lost to Hillcrest, 57-40, and to Hinsdale Central, 65-53. However, they bounced back with a 59-53 win against Timothy Christian in the tourney finale.

"It's a very high level of basketball at the Minuteman Classic and our team definitely grew," McCloskey said. "We were missing some people, so some guys got to do some different things. Everyone got a little playing time and a little experience."

It's been an offseason of change for the Bulldogs, who graduated four seniors from a year ago. That change begins with moving Sandrik to the point guard spot.

The 6-foot-3 senior played as a forward last season.

"We weren't sure how that would work out, but he's been doing a tremendous job there this summer (before he was hurt)," McCloskey said. "He's a great player that makes everyone on the floor better. We were worried that putting him at point would take away from his rebounding, but it hasn't, and it's worked out well for us."

McCloskey adds that seniors Steve Wilhelm, Brian Tyminski, Mark Gorman and Seamus Brennan are also having good summers, as is returning varsity junior Jon Baldermann.

Several additions from last year's sophomore team also appear ready to step into varsity roles, including Chris Musser, Dan Papadatos and Jake Nash.

"Our philosophy has always been to play a difficult schedule in the summertime and we've certainly done that this summer," McCloskey said. "It makes you a better team in the regular season."

The Lyons Township boys' team also went 3-2 at the tournament. The Lions lost 42-35 against Maine South on Friday before beating Ridgewood 53-41.

Saturday, LT beat Oswego 55-43 before falling to Lake Forest 52-48. The Lions closed the tourney with a 46-36 win against Hinsdale South.

St. Joseph was the boys' tournament winner after beating Stagg in the championship game.

On the girls' side of the tournament, LT finished fourth with a 2-2 record. The Lions beat Stevenson 28-23 on Friday before surprising Fenwick 52-50 to say in the championship bracket going into Saturday's games.

LT lost to eventual girls' champion Marian Central, 55-32, in the quarterfinals before losing the third-place game 42-39 to Montini.

The RB girls finished 1-3. After winning 43-32 against Lincoln-Way East, the Bulldogs, playing without Maggie McCloskey, were crushed 56-32 by Montini.

The Bulldogs went on to lose 51-32 to Fenwick and 58-55 in overtime to Bishop Mac.

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