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Bruins Fall A Few Points Short On Homecoming
The spacious parking lot outside Riverbank High's new gymnasium was filled to capacity on Friday as onlookers crowded to Homecoming night in a big Trans-Valley League showdown with Escalon.

But a huge crowd wasn't enough to overcome an Escalon unit determined to convert big shots with the game on the line.

Escalon's Gino Franceschetti (16 points) came through with a pair of big free throw shots in the final minutes of the game and watched the Cougars edge the Bruins 59-54.

Riverbank, slated to return four of their top six players, will have to wait until next year for another shot at Escalon.

"Everyone is losing a lot of players, but it bodes well for us because we will be the team with the most experience next year," Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings said. "The kids have a lot of pride in what we do and while the seniors want to make sure we pass the torch on, the sophomores and juniors also want to make sure they set the tone for next year."

Escalon pulled ahead with a seven point second quarter run, but Riverbank closed to a three-point deficit to open the fourth. The game stayed close until the late deficit forced the Bruins to intentionally foul and Franceschetti took to the foul line.

The Bruins played in front of a rowdy home crowd that included a large student cheering section at the south end of the gym.

"It's good for our program and good for our community to get an atmosphere like that and see a student section under the basket," Jennings said. "The kids admitted they got a little nervous, but once they become accustomed to crowds like that it will became a home court advantage."

Alex Reynaga scored 14 points to lead the Bruins while Manuel Jimenez (three 3s) added 11. Zack Gonzales put up nine with 10 rebounds while Robert Martinez converted big fast breaks and scored eight. Ivan Manriquez came through with seven while Blake Costalupes scored three and Jose Moreno two.

Riverbank is now 2-6 in TVL action with an 11-13 overall record. The team played Modesto Christian on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. Riverbank closes their season against host Hughson on Friday.

The junior varsity team fell, 55-44, to visiting Escalon Friday. The Cougars led by just three at the half, but carried a 10-point advantage into the fourth and did not let things get any closer.

Anthony Navarrette anchored down the post with sharp play and scored 14 points for the JV Bruins. Bruce Gong scored nine while Marcus Benson put up eight. Logan Nabors added six points while Christian Contreras put up five.