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Ball Doesn't Bounce Bruins' Way In Varsity Losses
After pulling the life from the Linden Lions with a last second victory in earlier action, the Riverbank Bruins could not continue their late game heroics, dropping two close encounters during the squad's most recent contests.

Riverbank put together an impressive fourth quarter run, but could not climb all the way back, falling to the Summerville Bears 44-42 on Jan. 13 for a two point defeat. The Bruins fought off a sluggish start and outscored the Bears over the final two periods of action, yet a stifling defense that held Summerville to just six fourth quarter points simply wasn't enough.

Lucas Pope paced the Bruin offense by turning in a team-high 12 point night. Teammate Mohamed Ali followed Pope in the scoring column with a nine point effort. The Bruins had success from behind the arc, connecting on seven three-pointers, including three from Ali and a pair from Eric Page.

Summerville had two players finish in double digits, yet the start of the contest is what proved to be the ticket for the Bears. Summerville opened the contest with a 13 point first period and kept the pressure on Riverbank with a 19 point third period.

Summerville's blistering starts to both halves left the Bruins clawing their way back into the contest after the openings of the first and second halves.

Riverbank's newly found misfortunes did not cease when the squad made the trek to Calaveras to take on the Redskins on Jan. 16. The Bruins' soft starts continued, as both squads tiptoed out to a 6-4 first period start, yet Calaveras was able to find the mark first. The Redskins stormed off with a 16 point second period, pushing the gap between the two schools to the contests' final margin of five in the 43-38 Riverbank defeat. Once again the Bruins were able to outscore their opponent in the final period, but the damage had already been done.

Jose Moreno carried the bulk of the load for the Bruin offense, pacing the squad with a double-digit 10 point performance. Zach Gonzales chipped in eight to follow Moreno in the scoring column.

The Bruins have seen practically every scenario possible during their preseason schedule and now the squad will have to put it all into action as they embark on the Trans-Valley League campaign.

Riverbank will open up its league run with back-to-back trips to Ripon to take on the Ripon Christian Knights (Jan. 20) followed by the Ripon Indians (Jan. 23). Both programs have had solid non-league competition, so the Bruins will have to put together impressive performances to walk away from the city of Ripon 2-0 to begin league play.

The Bruins will make their TVL home opener on Jan. 27 when the Escalon Cougars come to town. The Bruins have a good chance of opening the TVL grind with a 3-0 record, but they will have to be nearly perfect to knock off the Indians, who are 3-1 at home on the season.

Both contests are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off with the underclassmen games to precede the varsity tilt.