Last week saw the beginning of the Winter Sports campaign for Riverbank High School teams, much of it on the home court.
Girls and boys varsity basketball teams both warmed up with Foundation Games against Johansen High School on Monday, Dec. 1.
The RHS boys struggled to keep up with a Viking varsity dominated by outside, three-point shooters. A series of fast breaks toward the end of the fourth quarter edged the Bruins ahead, but with 3.6 seconds remaining on the clock, Johansen sank its final 3-point shot, sliding them ahead and allowing them to take a victory, 76-75.
Next up for the boys was their own Ron Peterson Tip-Off Tournament, also held at the Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 4-6.
The tourney is a good way for head coach Jeff Jennings to see where players will fit into the program during the course of the season and see some tough competition as they prepare for Trans-Valley League play.
The opening round Thursday night game found the Bruins facing the Buffaloes of Manteca. The daunting task was more difficult when the visitors fielded four of the first five players on their court at 6-feet-4 inches or taller.
Working hard to stay close, Riverbank finished the first round with a 63-50 loss, with junior guard Wolfgang Lopez posting 27 points in the Bruins effort. The loss put Riverbank into the consolation bracket.
On Friday, the Bruins took down Waterford, 83-54, with Wolfgang Lopez again leading RHS scorers with 23 points.
For the finale on Saturday, RHS beat Oakdale 66-52, this time with senior co-captain Vincent Meras leading the way with 23 points on the night. Riverbank took the consolation title with the win over the Mustangs.
Looking ahead, Riverbank was to host Patterson on Tuesday, Dec. 9, before heading to the three-day Del Oro Tournament in Loomis Thursday through Saturday this week.
On the girls side of the basketball court, the Lady Bruins powered through Johansen in their version of the Foundation Game on Dec. 1, 52-39.
Then it was off to nearby Escalon for the annual Escalon Lions Club Tournament, where the girls went 2-1 in their three games.
On Wednesday, Dec. 3, Riverbank met up with the Lady Raiders of Central Catholic High School, hanging on to a 54-47 win. Senior Olivia Luu was named player of the game with 26 points.
Thursday action, Dec. 4, the Lady Bruins faced off with a tough team, Bear Creek High School, taking a hard fought loss, 43-38. That put Riverbank in to a Friday game against tournament host Escalon and they took a 48-30 win, with senior Daisy Nunez leading the way with 13 points.
Coming up on the schedule for the Lady Bruins is the Lincoln Tournament in Stockton, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 11-13, then hosting Oakdale on Dec. 16.