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Bruins Upset Ripon By One Point To Split TVL Games
The Riverbank High varsity basketball team has not had any success with the Ripon Indians dating back to their 2005 Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff contest, but that long path of struggles has been overshadowed with the Bruins' 54-53 win over the Indians in recent Trans-Valley League action.

Riverbank used some timely free-throw shooting from senior guard Chris Nunez to slip past the Indians on Feb. 10 for its second win this TVL season. Ripon came into the contest off back-to-back wins over Escalon and Hughson, but had no reason to expect to come to Riverbank and get knocked off by the Bruins.

Zack Gonzales paved the way for the long awaited Bruin victory, turning in a game-high 19 points to lead all scorers. Jose Moreno and Eric Page both finished the contest in double digits, scoring 11 points and 10 points, respectively.

The win was a monumental victory for the Riverbank basketball program regardless of the Bruins' current standings in the TVL. The Indians and head coach Rod Wright have been a staple in the section's postseason, giving Riverbank more pain than they wanted to swallow over the past five seasons.

The Bruins came out of the locker room focused, jumping out on the Indians 12-5 after the first period of action. Ripon responded immediately, blasting Riverbank in the pivotal second period to get right back in the contest.

Ripon had no interest in surrendering the league victory to Riverbank, heading into the final period with a less-than-comfortable three point lead. The Bruin defensive unit responded, holding the Indians to just 10 points and walking away from their home gym with another TVL smile.

The Bruins followed up their huge win over the Indians with the often seen "big game letdown," surrendering an opportunity for back-to-back league wins when they fell to the Escalon Cougars 52-44 at Escalon High on Friday night.

Riverbank blasted the Cougars by 10 in their first meeting, but Riverbank would have no such luck in the two squads' encore, forfeiting a six-point halftime lead by getting outscored 34-20 over the final 16 minutes.

The Bruins took an early lead in the Escalon gym but didn't play with the fire that carried them to a win over Ripon. Escalon seized the opportunity and had a strong second half, including a 22-14 run in the final period to grab their second win on the TVL season in the process.

Gonzales continued to lead the Bruins' offensively, turning in a team-high 11 points in the loss. Senior Donovan Wallace came in behind Gonzales, chipping in nine. Nunez contributed seven points for the Bruins, while teammate Mohamed Ali was good for four points in the defeat.

Riverbank will bring the 2008-09 season to a close when they play host to the Hughson Huskies on Friday, Feb. 20 in the Riverbank High gym. The Bruins dropped their initial meeting with the Huskies by six points, so an inspired effort could leave the Bruins sitting on a high note to close out the long TVL grind.

The Bruins and Huskies are set for an 8 p.m. tip-off.