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Basketball Season Concludes For Varsity Bruins
Shown in action on the home court earlier this season, Tristin Rodgers goes up high to send the ball back onto the court, saving it from going out of bounds. He had a 13-point night in a win over Santa Cruz in the first round of the NorCal playoffs. - photo by Ric McGinnis/The News

After an historical first round win in the NorCal playoffs, the Riverbank varsity Bruins ended their basketball season on the road over the weekend. They fell in round two in Vallejo, losing to St. Patrick’s/St. Vincent’s by a 64-51 final.

Earlier, the Bruins hit the road for a game at Santa Cruz and notched their historic win, the first ever NorCal playoff victory for the school, defeating the host team 59-55 on Wednesday, March 12.

In that game, the Bruins showed no ill effects from the long road trip or the daunting task ahead, taking a 21-15 lead in the opening quarter and they added to the advantage with a 14-12 run in the second. That gave the upstart Bruins a 35-27 lead at the half and though Santa Cruz came back with a strong second half effort, the early lead held up for Riverbank.

Santa Cruz outscored the Bruins 15-14 in the third and 13-10 in the fourth but couldn’t quite close the gap.

Rolaun Dunham had 17 points and nine rebounds in another stellar effort, while two other Bruins also hit double figures. Tristin Rodgers notched 13 points and pulled down seven boards, with Reilly Nabors contributing 10 points.

The win propelled the Bruins to round two, with the Saturday game in Vallejo.

“We lost to the fourth seed,” said coach Jeff Jennings. “We played very well, but we struggled to make open shots vs. their zone. That would prove to be our downfall.”

St. Patrick’s/St. Vincent’s had advanced out of the first round with a 60-42 victory, and had to work hard to keep Riverbank at bay.

“Rolaun had an amazing game with 19 points, Curtis Porter III had a great game with 14,” noted Jennings. “Tristin Rodgers played exceptionally well passing and playing great defense but fouled out with four minutes to go in the game.”

Jennings said despite the loss, the Bruins have plenty to be proud of regarding the season, ending with a 24-6 overall record.

“It was an amazing year and a very special group of guys,” Jennings pointed out. “I’m proud that we made history by being the first Riverbank team to win a NorCal game and I think we’ve proved that we are an elite small school program.”

The Bruins advanced to the Section semifinals and also took second place in the Trans-Valley League, losing only two TVL games, both to Modesto Christian, which moves out of the league for next season.

Along with an outstanding year from his players, Jennings said he and the team were overwhelmed by the fans and are very appreciative.

“We had fantastic community support. In both the Santa Cruz game and this last game we had more fans and louder fans which is awesome that people would travel that far to support us,” Jennings said.