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Bruin Boys Nearing Tumultuous League Hoops Schedule
When Riverbank High's varsity boys basketball team takes the floor at Linden on Friday, they won't be waging battle against a fellow Trans-Valley League team, but with league play looming on the horizon, the Bruins need to be playing their best basketball of the season.

Linden has already punished the TVL's Escalon Cougars, in a 55-39 victory earlier in the season. In mid-December, the team also went 1-1 with the TVL's highest winning program, Ripon Christian.

Friday's game against the Lions will give coach Jeff Jennings a good look at what the Bruins have in store when the team kicks off TVL action on Jan. 19.

Riverbank (8-4) struggled through a 1-2 run in the Oakdale Rotary Classic over the past week and played Argonaut on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time.

The Bruins currently sit tied for second in the TVL non-league standings, though league juggernaut, Modesto Christian, sports a deceptive 3-6 record.

The Crusaders have played some of the toughest teams in the state, and boast impressive wins over both Linden (85-45) and Valley Oak League favorite, Manteca (87-73).

The Crusaders are led by sophomore guard Josue Chew and lanky junior forwards Ryan Riner (6 foot, 3 inches) and Anthony Pratt (6-4).

Ripon Christian has played to a 9-2 non-league record this year and ousted Riverbank 61-50 in the Ron Peterson Tip-Off Tournament finale earlier this season. The team has won three straight games since losing to Linden 56-47 on Dec. 19.

The Knights are paced by strong play in the paint from 6-8 senior center Tyler Goslinga, who averages over 22 points and 11 rebounds a game this preseason. Logan Vos, a 6-4 junior, has also scored nearly 14 points a game this season with 14 converted three-pointers.

Riverbank is tied with Escalon (8-4) in preseason contests after the Cougars overcame a 4-4 start to the year with four consecutive wins over Sac-Joaquin Section programs by a 254-177 total tally.

The Cougars have proven to be balanced offensively, with nine players averaging over four points a game and points from 15 different players this season.

Sophomore point guard Gino Franceshetti (5-7) has scored 8.7 points a game with 20 successful shots from beyond the arc. Junior forward Tyler Schuurman (6-4) has scored 8.8 points a game this season as well.

Last year Modesto Christian ran away with a league and section title and fell two wins short of a state championship.

Riverbank opens with a Ripon Christian on Jan. 19 to kick off league play.