Riverbank’s Trans-Valley League finale went in the books as an easy 35-point win, but now the Bruins will be taking on some tough competition, as they start the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
“The guys are excited. We play Summerville, a team that we split with last year,” head coach Jeff Jennings said of the first round playoff match. “They beat us in the semi’s and won the section championship.
“They are very young this year and have kind of played up and down as most young teams do. I know they will be ready to play on Wednesday.”
The Bruins, coming off a 78-43 TVL win over Hughson to close out the regular season with a 10-2 mark, got monster nights from Reilly Nabors and Curtis Porter III in the win. Nabors had 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Porter poured in 17 points. Also figuring heavily into the win was Tristin Rodgers, 13 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists.
The night featured recognition for the Bruin seniors as well, as is customary for the final regular season home game, thanking them for contributions to the program.
Senior players recognized prior to tip off included Tristin Rodgers, Alfredo (Freddy) Capas, Reilly Nabors, Curtis Porter III, Angel Esquivel, Nestor Morales, Edgar Pantoja, Rolaun Dunham, Carlos Luna.
The Tuesday, Feb. 18 contest saw Riverbank take an 18-12 lead after one and then they poured it on over the middle two periods, outscoring Hughson 24-14 in the second to lead 42-26 at the half, and following that up with a 33-9 scoring edge in the third. Both teams were in single digit scoring in the fourth, with Riverbank cruising to the win. Eight different players scored for Riverbank and senior Carlos Luna came on to contribute seven points.
The Bruins head into the post season as the Number 3 seed in Division IV and host the Number 14 Summerville Bears in a 7 p.m. game tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 26.
The team rested standout senior Rolaun Dunham for the past few games, and he hopes to come back strong from an ankle injury. With plenty of firepower and players capable of hitting double digits, Jennings said the team is pumped up and ready to go.
“We feel we have what it takes to win a section championship but our margin for error is slim,” Jennings noted. “We have to get rebounding production from our post players and we will have to defend. I think our balance will give teams problems.”
Encina (1) and Natomas (2) are the only teams ahead of Riverbank in the D IV bracket.
The winner of tonight’s game moves on to face the winner of the Lathrop (6 seed) vs. Mariposa County (11) contest in the second round on Friday, Feb. 28.
Riverbank, second in the TVL behind undefeated Modesto Christian, heads into the playoffs with an overall record of 21-3.