Mount Carmel guard Grant Best looks to drive to the basket while be defending by Lyons senior Ian Polonowski during a game at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Mount Carmel guard Grant Best looks to drive to the basket while be defending by Lyons senior Ian Polonowski during a game at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Summer League Basketball | Illinois powers compete at Riverside-Brookfield Shootout

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By Xavier Sanchez
Correspondent

School’s out for the summer, but high school athletes across Illinois are remaining active during the summer sports season. This includes basketball players, who can be found at camps, open gyms, camps and even weekend tournaments.

Among the more high-profile hoops action in the area was the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout, which featured three 2023-24 state champions and numerous teams that made deep playoff runs last season. Thousands of people — including spectators and college coaches — gathered in Riverside for the 21st annual event held June 21-23.

The shootout was a nearly all-day affair spread across six courts in three gyms at Riverside-Brookfield. The host Bulldogs were one of 84 teams that participated in the event.

Fourteen teams including Marist and St. Laurence went undefeated during the weekend, and a 20-year-old record was also broken when Crystal Lake South guard AJ Demirov scored 44 points against Batavia. The previous game-high was 43 points set by Niles West’s Sean Odzic.

R-B coach Mike Reingruber was running credits the shootout’s organizers, the participating programs and the connections made over the years for keeping the event a success.

“They want to come play in this event,” Reingruber said. “It’s the coaches, it’s the programs that do come back.

SummerHoops StL EJ Mosley scaled

St. Laurence’s EJ Mosley goes straight up for a basket over a Metea Valley defender. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

“It is all the top-flight programs we have here. The best want to play against the best, and it breeds that success.”

Wins and losses are not the main focus during the summer league. Coaches and players hope to get acclimated with each other as teams try to build chemistry on and off the court. Several schools have athletes taking the leap from sophomores or junior varsity to varsity, or have players who have transferred from other schools.

“We have very little varsity experience coming with us — almost zero with actual varsity game experience and competitive time in a varsity game,” Lyons coach Tom Sloan of the players who would be representing the Lions at R-B..

Lyons had 11 players participating, with the majority being seniors.

Senior guard Jack Weigus is one of the many student-athletes stepping into a new program. Weigus transferred to Brother Rice after spending the previous three years at Hinsdale South. 

Getting playing time in a summer shootout like R-B’s can help players like Weigus. He noted being able to play against strong competition as a highlight of the tournament.

“A lot of great players and competition,” Weigus said. “It was a great learning experience.”

Summer is a also a chance for college coaches to get in-person looks at players they are recruiting or may recruit. Coaches often discover players not previously not on their radar. Several players across Illinois picked up college offers during the Shootout.

The shootout keeps detailed records of stats and scores from years past. They have even highlighted the names of players that have played at the Division 1 level as well as the NBA. Shootout alumni include NBA players Jalen Brunson (Stevenson), Ayo Dosunmu (Morgan Park) and Vic Law (St. Rita), among others.

MtC Hoops Noah mIster scaled

Mount Carmel’s Noah Mister floats a layup over Lyons guard Dylan Hall at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Local News

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Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound July 17, 2024

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