Giving Modesto Christian a run for their money, the Riverbank varsity boys nonetheless took their first Trans-Valley League loss as the Crusaders put a 75-60 win on the books Tuesday, Jan. 21.
Hosted at MC, the home team jumped out to an early 18-9 lead in the first and extended it to 44-30 at the half. Riverbank made some adjustments and came back to play a much more evenly balanced second half, tying the Crusaders at 13-13 in the third and just a point behind, 18-17, in the fourth. The early lead, however, was enough for MC to take the victory and give Riverbank its first league loss of the campaign, its second overall.
“We played pretty well vs. MC,” Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings said. “We were able to handle their pressure and get the shots that we needed, we just didn’t hit the ones that we usually do. Their size gave us a lot of problems.
“We felt like we played pretty good defense but they got a lot of second chance shots off offensive rebounds.”
Riverbank got contributions from a number of steady players and also some surprises, with a solid all-around effort in defeat, said Jennings.
“Carlos Luna came off the bench for us and played a great game at the center position. Rolaun Dunham had an outstanding game and I think solidified his status as the best player in our area with 27 points,” Jennings noted. “Curtis Porter III had 10 and Reilly Nabors had an outstanding game with 11 points.”
A big play in the game was a deep 3 point shot that cut the lead to single digits in the second half, the coach added, but that was as close as the Bruins could get.
“We had some chances to cut it more but missed some really good looks. Tristin Rodgers had eight points and played in foul trouble most of the game. He was outstanding getting our perimeter guys shots with some really good passes,” Jennings said.
Back in action for a Thursday game, another one on the road, the varsity boys were back to their winning ways, taking a 67-44 victory off the court against the host Huskies.
Porter was the leading scorer with 21 points and Dunham had 19.
“We opened the game in the first quarter 22-4 and they were really never able to close that gap,” Jennings said of Hughson. “Reilly had 10 points and Ylii Lopez had eight.”
For Lopez, it was a week to remember, as he had a last second full court shot featured as the #1 play on ESPN’s Sports Center.
“He was also interviewed on Good Day Sacramento and (by) a news agency in Japan,” Jennings said.
The boys were scheduled to play at Orestimba on Tuesday, Jan. 28 after The News went to press and host the Escalon Cougars for their Homecoming game on Friday, Jan. 31.
“It will definitely be a challenge this Friday,” said Jennings. “Escalon is a really good team and very well coached. Our kids don’t have a problem getting up to play them; they are a rival of ours so I don’t think the distractions (of Homecoming Week) will affect us very much.
“It should be a playoff type atmosphere so that should help us prepare for playoffs.”
The squad, 5-1 in league, is 15-2 overall entering the week.
Tip off time Friday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., with special Homecoming festivities also planned for the evening including introduction of the King and the crowning of the Queen.