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Bruin Varsity Boys Fall Hard To Modesto Christian

When the best program in the Trans-Valley League shows up at the gym looking to play, you grab your uniform and turn on the gym lights, hoping for the best. But it didn't take long for the Modesto Christian Crusaders to shoot those lights out during Riverbank High's 94-59 loss to the Crusaders in recent TVL action.

Modesto Christian's superstar cast, complete with two verbally committed NCAA Division I future stars, jumped out early on the Bruins on Jan. 15, building a 56-28 lead after just two periods of play. The Crusaders hit early and they hit often, keeping their TVL mark unblemished and raising their season's overall win total to 10 with the victory.

The Bruins were well aware of who they were playing, matching their second-highest point total of the year in the loss and landing three players in double digits in the scoring column.

Lucas Pope closed out the contest as the Bruins leading scorer with 14 points, while teammate Francisco Pineda put up 13 on the Crusaders. Senior Chris Mitchell banged and battered with the Crusaders and also added 11 points to the Bruins' score sheet.

The Bruin trio's accomplishments dimmed in comparison to UCLA-bound Reeves Nelson, who put together a monster game, including game-high honors with 25 points scored.

On Friday, Jan. 18, the Bruins found themselves playing host to the Hughson Huskies for their Winter Homecoming, looking to avenge a 30-point drubbing the Huskies laid on the Bruins back in preseason play. Unlike the Modesto Christian loss, the Bruins were able to come out and perform at a high level in the opening half against Hughson, connecting on open lay-ups and knocking down jumpers for a respectable 23-20 halftime deficit.

As the final 16 minutes of play began to unfold, it was obvious that the Huskies would race off with the victory, outscoring Riverbank 24-10 in the pivotal third period and heading toward a 57-34 Hughson win.

Eric Page held the hot hand for the Bruins, finishing the contest as the team's leading scorer with 12 points. Pope finished in double-digits with 11 points for his second consecutive contest in double figures.

The road will continue to stay rough for the Bruins with three consecutive road games on the schedule. Riverbank was slated to take a trip to Ripon Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 22 after The News went to press. They head to Ripon to take on the Indians on Thursday, Jan. 24 for an 8 p.m. contest, followed by a Saturday, Jan. 26 game at Escalon to face the Cougars with a 5 p.m. tip off time.

Riverbank's JV and freshman teams split their games for the week, with both taking losses to Modesto Christian but making the host team 2-for-3 in the Homecoming contests, the JV and frosh both defeating Hughson on Friday night.