Riverbank’s boys basketball teams took two out of three on the court Friday night, traveling to nearby Escalon and topping the host Cougars at the JV and varsity levels.
It was the Trans-Valley League opener for the varsity boys, and they held on for a 63-62 victory. Escalon’s final shot as time expired clanged off the rim, refusing to fall.
“Escalon has always been a tough place for us to get a win and it’s almost always a close game so we were fortunate to get the ‘W’,” said Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings of starting off league play with a victory.
Nik Keydeniers paced the Bruins with 20 points and Wolfgang Lopez had 15.
“We also had a tremendous game at the point guard position from Ylii Lopez who broke Escalon’s pressure and made great decisions and Kory Gilbert played really well inside for us including some big buckets and rebounds down the stretch,” added Jennings.
The Bruins opened up the game with a 19-15 advantage after one period and that was the only frame in which they outscored the host team. Escalon had a 13-12 scoring edge in the second, with the Bruins holding a tight 31-28 lead at the half. Over the third and fourth quarters, Escalon put in 34 points to Riverbank’s 32, with the Bruins hanging on for the 1-point win. The fast-paced game saw end to end action throughout, neither team able to open up any kind of comfortable lead in the contest.
For the JV boys, they had an easier time of it, using a 28-point second quarter to get a little breathing room. Escalon was up 13-10 after one but the huge offensive outburst from the JV Bruins in the second saw them take a 38-26 lead into the locker room at the half and they kept the pressure on, tying Escalon 13-13 in the third and outscoring the host team 12-10 in the fourth for a 63-49 win.
Riverbank’s freshmen were not able to get the win on Friday night, however, unable to keep the Cougar shooters in check and falling in a 58-34 decision.
The varsity Lady Bruins started their Trans-Valley League season on a win, topping the Lady Cougars of Escalon by a 45-41 verdict on Thursday, Jan. 15. Riverbank enjoyed a 27-14 lead at the half, but saw the visitors come back with a vengeance during second half play. Escalon outscored the host Bruins 27-18 over the final two periods but the strong first half was enough to get the win.
At the lower levels, the Escalon teams proved to be a little too much for Riverbank to handle, the Lady Cougar JV girls topping the Lady Bruins 49-22 and the freshman girls handing Riverbank a lopsided 43-11 loss.
News correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this report.