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Bruin JVs Strong Effort Wins Coach's Praise
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The Jan. 11 Riverbank vs. Escalon junior varsity boys basketball game brought a 61-44 loss for the Bruins. But Riverbank coach Derrick Burnett praised his players for showing 100 percent effort and holding Escalon in the second half.

The Bruins were trailing by 41-18 at halftime, but held Escalon to a 12-12 tie in the third period before yielding the fourth quarter, 14-8.

"We came out slow in the first half, gave up too many easy baskets and faltered in offense," said Burnett. "In the second half, we increased the defensive pressure and became more aggressive in offense."

Levi Luca was the Bruins top scorer with 18 points, followed by Evan Gunther with 11.

In the Friday game against Hilmar, the Bruins lost, 57-37, again making a very slow start and not exerting enough pressure to stop Hilmar's spirited attack.

Riverbank lost every quarter, 18-3. 10-7, 15-8 and 14-13.

Luca again led on points, with 13, trailed by Seth Ecchevaria, with eight points. Luca has averaged 14 points per game in the first three league matches.

The previous week also brought defeats for the junior varsity boys. They lost, 73-15, to Bret Harte on Jan. 7 and were defeated by Ripon Christian, 71-31, on the next night. Both were home games.

"We were outplayed. Of course, we gave up too many points and we did not score enough of our own. We didn't do the things we must do to compete," said Burnett.

Against Bret Harte, the Bruins were on the short end of the stick in every quarter, losing 19-4, 19-6, 23-2 and 12-3.

Their top scorer was Luca with eight points.

Riverbank put up a rather better performance against the ever-powerful Ripon Christian squad the following night.

This time, the Bruins trailed 21-7, 16-13 and 17-2 in the first three-quarters but tied RC, 17-17, in the last period.

"We had a slow first and third quarters in offense. Otherwise we were pretty even," said Burnett. "There were a lot of little mistakes in ball handling."

Top Riverbank scorers were Ivan Nunes with 15 points and Luca with 10.

The junior varsity Bruins are still a very young team, mustering three freshmen and four sophomores, he noted.