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Homecoming Heroics - Bruin Boys Force Running Clock In Rout Of Hughson
The expression on Tristin Rodgers face left no doubt of his intentions on Jan. 18. With a rapid crossover, the junior guard on Riverbank High's varsity boys' basketball team sent a Hughson defender scrambling in his wake at the top of the key. Rodgers slashed past the foul line and soared towards the hoop with an intense grimace as post defenders leaped to block his shot attempt. But he didn't have the ball. While simultaneously leaping and scowling, Rodgers had whipped the ball across his body to a teammate now uncovered by the basket. The world's easiest layup ensues and Riverbank enjoys another successful third-quarter possession amidst a 63-29 victory on Homecoming. Rodgers repeated the drive and dish a few more times during the third period, but Hughson had seen enough. The Huskies surrendered to a rare running clock in the fourth quarter and allowed the Bruins to advance to sterling 17-1 overall record and 5-0 start to Trans Valley League play.

Every active member of the 16-member Bruin squad saw substantial playing time in the victory.

"It was a nice opportunity for the kids to play hard," Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings said. "Right now we want to try and play our best basketball of the season and continue to get better."

Riverbank opened the game with a stunning 26-6 rally in the opening period and captured runs of 19-8 and 17-8 in the next two quarters. Reserves didn't miss a dribble in the second half under the direction of Rodgers, who played the point against Hughson but has enjoyed time in every position on the floor this season. The do-it-all talent has progressed into a true sixth-man with vital contributions throughout the year.

"He is very talented and he does whatever the team needs to succeed," Jennings said. "He would start on most teams."

Rodgers drained two three-pointers, but landed only seven points thanks to unselfish play that allowed nine different teammates to find the bottom of the net.

"I like the high percentage shots, so if I see post defenders going up then I dish," Rodgers said. "If not I go up for a basket."

The Bruins converted 11 total shots beyond the arc and saw an 18-point game-high from Rolaun Dunham. Markus Benson (12 points) drained three of his four treys in the first quarter while Reily Nabors (six points) also sink a pair of threes. Amando Manriquez (five), Freddie Capas (five), Kenny Veliz (four), Trey Jones (two), Joaquin Felix (two) and Sam Gong (two) also scored.

On Tuesday, the Bruins completed the first-half of conference play against a Modesto Christian team (16-2, 5-0) ranked top-40 in the state across all divisions by, but results were not available at press time.

The Bruins are ranked top-23 for Division IV, and likely to stay that way after ousting their top conference rival (outside of MC), Ripon, 61-52 on Jan. 15. The Bruins drained 11 treys in that win as well and rallied behind the scoring of Benson (15 points), Dunham (15), Veliz (14) and Nabors (11).

Riverbank is at Escalon (12-9, 3-3) on Friday, Jan. 25 for what should be one of their toughest games remaining on the conference docket.