Brenna Loftus is an old-school big-time scorer.
The Riverside-Brookfield junior small forward is one of the highest-scoring players in the state, averaging slightly more than 30 points and six rebounds per game this season.
She established a single-game school record of 48 points against Eisenhower on Dec. 14. She poured in 37 points in a victory over IC Catholic Prep on Feb. 7 to clinch the Metro Suburban Blue Conference title for the second season in a row. The 5-foot-8 Loftus also set a new standard by becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing the 2,000-point mark late in the regular season.
But there’s something unique about Loftus’ journey racking up points that differs from the current trend in high school, college and professional basketball: She rarely attempts a 3-pointer.
In the age of teams on all levels hoisting up 3-pointers, Loftus averages less than one 3-point attempt a game.
Let that sink in.
“I’m not the greatest 3-point shooter,” Loftus said. “Most of my points come from within the arc. I just don’t shoot it well. I’ve always been hyper focused getting to the basket and drawing contact. That’s where I play my best. I just take it to the hoop.”
Riverside-Brookfield assistant coach Mark Ruge joked that Loftus’ 3-point attempts are a rare sight.
“She doesn’t really shoot it,” he said. “It’s something we always joke about, that she’s allowed one per game. She works so hard, adjusts her game.”
Thanks to her uncanny ability to score 2-pointers, Loftus is helping the Bulldogs reach new heights. At 28-3, the Bulldogs rode a fast-paced offense to the No. 3 seed in the Class 3A Chicago Little Village Sectional. The Bulldogs host their regional this week.
“We’re all so excited for the playoffs,” Loftus said. “We’re coming off an undefeated conference season, so our mentality is to keep it going. We’ve all had so much fun together. We don’t want the season to end. We’re going to give it our best shot, to see how long we can keep this going.”
Before the season, there was no indication that the Bulldogs were in store for a special season after losing several key players from last season’s team. The Bulldogs’ tallest player is 5-foot-11 Abigail Yager.
“In a way, it feels like we’re flying under the radar,” Loftus said. “I’m not sure everybody was expecting this team to come out this way like we did because we graduated a lot of seniors.”
Loftus, who competes in track during the spring, said she remains unsure about her college plans.
“College is still up in the air,” she said. “I’m not entirely positive what I’m going to do. I’m still trying to make decisions. I think the biggest thing is I don’t know if I want to play in college. It’s something I have to figure out as time goes on.”
Still, Loftus should be an attractive player for a college looking for a player with a high upside to go with a knack for scoring buckets.
“Brenna jumps very high,” Ruge said. “When she shoots her jump shot, she’s at her apex. It’s hard for teams to get back in transition, to block her shots. She’s very hard to defend. Teams like to play man-to-man defense against us because of our lack of height, but we are athletic. We get the ball to Brenna quick in transition.”