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Hoop News - Bruin Boys Land In State Rankings
If a prep basketball team is good, it wins games. If it's great, it may just end up noted on the state rankings.

For Riverbank High's varsity boys basketball team (15-1 overall, 3-0 Trans-Valley League), both apply.

The Bruins broke the list of 'teams on the bubble' in the recent release of the Division IV State Rankings. The list, mostly dominated by Southern California powerhouses, features only two Sac-Joaquin Section teams (also 14-3 Colfax) and only three SJS programs are featured across Divisions I, II, III and IV (Sheldon is No. 3 in D-I and Modesto Christian is ranked seventh in D-III).

Since league rival Modesto Christian will compete in the DIII postseason and Colfax dropped a conference game after the Calhisports rankings were released, it stands to reason that the Bruins are suddenly a prime candidate to enter the 2013 postseason as a No. 1 seed for the D-IV bracket and an SJS title favorite. But the postseason is still a long ways away.

The Bruins still had nine conference games to play as of Monday, and were at Ripon (6-10 overall, 2-0 TVL) Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The Indians don't appear tough on paper, but played a gauntlet of a preseason against the likes of Sierra (14-3), Weston Ranch (10-5) and Central Catholic (16-2). Ripon also bested Escalon and Hughson to start league play. The contest against Ripon marks the beginning to a key stretch of conference games.

Riverbank will need a superb TVL record to multiply upon the league's stalwart strength rating when the regular season ends. That record may feature potential losses to a Modesto Christian team that has never lost a TVL game since joining the league in 2006-07.

But losses to Modesto Christian won't necessarily hurt Riverbank. The Bruins already beat both the top two teams in the Mother Lode League (Summerville and Bret Harte), and would be seeded higher than the likes of Encina or San Juan from the Sierra Delta League or Union Mine of the Sierra Valley League.

The potential of a high seed centers around the aspect of being perfect against every TVL team not named Modesto Christian, and Riverbank's recent play signals that as a real possibility.

The Bruins burned visiting Escalon for a 76-61 victory on Jan. 8 and shellacked Hilmar 74-44 three days later.

"We are 15-1 right now, which is great but we have Ripon on the road and Homecoming Friday vs. Hughson, then home (against) MC," Jennings said on Monday.

Friday's Homecoming game will give Riverbank an opportunity to further its postseason plans, but also allow Hughson to show if it's still the team that blasted Hilmar 59-37, or more like the one that was soundly thumped by Ripon 73-31 three days later.