RIVERSIDE – It won’t be easy to match last year’s success for the Riverside Brookfield girls basketball team, but the Bulldogs still have talent.
RB faces the task of replacing its top two scorers from last year, Hannah Claywell and Brittney JnoBaptiste, from a team that won 24 games and the Metro Suburban Conference title. The Bulldogs do return their leading rebounder and third-leading scorer from last year, junior forward Janae Dabney.
“It’s going to be difficult to parallel the success we had last year in terms of record,” RB coach Dallas Till said. “We’re different now. Everything is a little bit different and there’s a lot of new faces. We’re still trying to figure each other out.”
In addition to Dabney, senior guard Caroline Waas and junior guard Miranda Chavez will be the captains on the team. Junior Angela Comicho also returns after seeing significant playing time last year.
Till said the starting lineup could shift frequently during the first few weeks of the season. An influx of youth will be competing for some of those starting spots. Three freshmen, guards Samantha Bloom and Lindsay Hoyd and 6-foot-5 Dana Rettke, should see the floor.
Rettke’s height gives the Bulldogs a potential star inside, but Till said she is still thin and will have to learn to play strong in the paint.
“We’re deep this year, but we’re also young with these freshmen,” Till said. “It’s a much different speed than they’re probably used to playing at. We need them to acclimate to this level right away.”
Till isn’t sure if the team has a player who can create her own shot like Claywell and JnoBaptiste could, but the improved depth and height can make up for that.
RB will face stiff competition in the MSC from Glenbard South, which returns much of last year’s team that went 10-2 in the league, but Till said the atmosphere around the team has been positive.
“They don’t really seem to let anything bother them,” he said. “They’re not afraid to work hard. There’s a very high level of team bonding. Everybody seems to get along. There’s no egos.”
The Bulldogs won the season opener on Monday, 52-25 over Addison Trail. RB led by 27 at halftime and was led by Dabney with 12 points and nine rebounds. Bloom added nine points on a pair of three-pointers.
Riverside Brookfield Bulldogs
Coach: Dallas TillConference: Metro Suburban2012-13 record: 24-5, 11-1 MSCNext game: Monday, Nov. 25 vs. Mt. AssisiTop returners: Miranda Chavez sr. G Angela Comicho jr. G Janae Dabney jr. F/C Caroline Waas sr. GPromising newcomers: Samantha Bloom fr. G Lindsay Hoyd fr. G Dana Rettke fr. C