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Bruins Can't Keep Pace With Sonora
The Riverbank High basketball team found itself fighting with its second tough opponent from the Valley Oak League in as many weeks and the outcome was all too familiar, as the Bruins fell to the Sonora Wildcats 51-27 Dec. 14 at the Riverbank High Gym.

Riverbank clawed back into the contest after watching the Wildcats jump out to an early 9-0 lead, finishing the first quarter tied at 11 apiece. Only the Bruins would have a miserable second quarter connecting for just four points, falling behind by double digits.

"Basically, in that first quarter we did a really good job of moving the ball around," Riverbank head coach Jeff Jennings said. "When we move the ball and we get the spacing, with our quickness we're hard to guard. And then sometimes, like the second and third quarters, we're trying to score off of two or three passes.

"You're not going to do that against a team like Sonora."

The Bruins found that out with the Wildcats holding the Bruins to 12 points over the final two periods.

"After that first quarter we really just weren't playing as a team," Bruin senior Chris Mitchell said. "We didn't help down low; we didn't play with chemistry. We started out playing as a team at first and then it went all bad."

The Bruins will undoubtedly walk into the Trans-Valley League schedule battle tested, suiting up against two solid forces from the VOL in hopes of preparing for an always-challenging TVL schedule.

"Basically, we want to continue to build on what our foundation is," Jennings said. "We're very young, we're inexperienced; there are times, like at Bret Harte, who beat Sonora, we're playing really well. It's about us establishing roles and establishing responsibilities.

"It is about us trying to understand our identity, who we are and how we're going to be successful."

The Bruins spread the points around pretty evenly, with Francisco Pineda, Eric Page and Mohamed Ali all chipping in six points in the loss. Mitchell finished the contest with five points.

Riverbank will get a chance to get on the right page today, Wednesday Dec. 19 when the Bruins head over to Denair to take on the Coyotes at 7:30 p.m. Riverbank will need to get balanced production from all of its key contributors if they plan on leaving Denair with the squad's third victory.

"The guys have to understand what their role is," Jennings said. "Because we've had so many injuries, that guys have had to play out of position. I think that as we get closer to league, we'll start to get more of a cohesive feel."