League basketball action kicked off the New Year on Friday, Jan. 3 for the Riverbank Bruins with wins over the visiting Orestimba Warriors varsity and JV basketball teams. The JV game ended with Riverbank on top with a 54-30 score while the RHS varsity ended with a 78-28 tally.
A foreshadowing of the outcome might have come in the opening frame of the varsity contest: the Warriors weren’t able to score their first basket, a three-pointer, until just 30 seconds remained in the quarter. The frame ended with Riverbank ahead 22-6. Similar scoring of 22-14, 24-4 and 10-4 over the final three quarters in favor of the Bruins resulted in the final, 78-24.
The Bruins were scheduled to travel to Escalon on Tuesday, Jan. 7, though results were not available at press time, then go on the road to face Hilmar later this week. The next home game will be hosting Ripon on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
High scorers for the Bruins in the Trans-Valley League opener were senior Reilly Nabors with 15 points, junior Ylii Lopez, 14, and senior Curtis Porter III with 11. Senior Tristin Rodgers tallied five defensive rebounds, six offensive and seven assists. Senior Rolan Dunham grabbed four defensive rebounds, five offensive, two assists and two steals.
“We had a very balanced scoring effort with 12 of our 15 guys scoring,” said head coach Jeff Jennings. “Ylii Lopez had a great game for us with 14 points as well as doing a great job running the offense and playing some really good defense. Angel Esquivel had a monster game rebounding the ball as well as doing a great job guarding Orestimba’s best player.”
Riverbank improved to 11-1 overall with the win and are 1-0 in league.
“League overall should be tough,” Jennings added. “Every road game is a battle and we have some very good coaches in the TVL.”
At the JV level, the team has seen solid starting play from Wolfgang Lopez, Juan Hernandez, Eli Vernon, Ruben Facio and Michael Rocha, with Lopez and Rocha typically the top scorers for the squad.
Riverbank’s varsity girls basketball team, under new head coach Lupe Galindo, continued to roll along as they easily defeated Orestimba in their TVL opener on the road Friday night. Janelle Luu poured in 21 points – almost as much as the entire Orestimba team – to lead Riverbank to a 57-23 decision. Sister Olivia Luu added 10 points; Sierra Nabors and Alejandra Villagomez each put in five. Lilly Garcia pulled down seven rebounds to assist in the win.
The girls will be on the home court for league action Thursday, hosting Hilmar on Jan. 9.
News correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this report.