Brenna Loftus is a girl who could have easily got caught up or infatuated with her individual statistics in high school.
It never happened.
Humble to the core, thankful to those around her, the Riverside-Brookfield senior never dwelled on personal achievement. When Bulldogs coach Dallas Till’s kids went to games, they’d ask Loftus afterward how many points she scored. She could never recite the answer.
“I have such strong relationships with my teammates, I know without having to say explicitly that they appreciate what I can contribute,” said Loftus, a 5-foot-8 Washington University (St. Louis) commit. “Things like numbers and statistics are so much less important than the relationships I have built. In that respect, I’ve been surrounded by really great teammates.”
Loftus won’t crave attention, but the impact she left on Riverside-Brookfield’s girls basketball program is immense.
She led the Bulldogs to an 84-24 record in four years and two conference championships, with a regional title in 2020 – the program’s first since 2011. And Loftus did so with simply staggering offensive numbers.
As a junior, she averaged 30.7 points a game and scored 48 points in a game against Eisenhower. Her 1,044 points for one season are ninth all-time in IHSA history.
This year, despite only playing about 25 minutes a game and facing several box-and-one defenses designed to stop her, Loftus still averaged 27.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals, surpassing 2,500 career points for the 10-4 Bulldogs – all while maintaining a perfect grade-point average.
The highlight perhaps came against 2020 state team Aurora Christian and Virginia recruit Anna Griffin, a game in which Loftus poured in 42 points in a Bulldogs win. With a normal-length season, Loftus certainly would have eclipsed 3,000 career points.
“Just unprecedented, really, and she did it from Day 1,” said Till, noting that Loftus had about 600 points as a freshman. “I hate to say it, but you almost came to expect it. This kid did it over and over again. And she did it against good teams. Aurora Christian this year, Kankakee last year. The sectional game last year against Kenwood. [DePaul coach] Doug Bruno came over and talked to her afterward and was like, ‘Who is this kid?’ ”
Loftus got her start in kindergarten. Her parents signed her up for multiple sports, but her dad, who played in college at Knox College in Galesburg, encouraged Loftus to stick with basketball. Things got serious when she joined the Chicago Hoops Express AAU team in eighth grade.
“I realized it was maybe something I could do at the next level just because so many girls in that program are doing such incredible things,” Loftus said. “To be able to witness that is a gift and I’m grateful for it.”
What makes Loftus’ personal numbers all the more mind-blowing is that she did it old school. Till estimated she made fewer than 25 3-pointers over four years. Crafty going to the rim, speedy in transition (she also runs track), Loftus averaged over a point a minute the hard way.
“She understands what she needs to do to be successful,” Till said. “She was able to adapt to different personnel through the four years, and she was able to get it done. This year, for instance, we lost two key pieces off a 30-4 team, we did not have the supporting cast and she was getting harassed on the floor by everyone and still got it done. It spoke volumes. And she remained humble throughout it all. She’s the epitome of what you want as a player.”