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Intensity Takes Boys Basketball Team Close In Two Contests
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It was a disappointing week for the members of the Riverbank High School boys basketball team.

At the Bruins Homecoming on Friday, they lost by 58-49 to the Escalon Cougars in overtime, after dropping an away game to Ripon Christian on Tuesday.

"It was a very close, very intense game,' said Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings of the loss to Escalon. "It came down to them making 18 out of 21 free throws while we only got seven out of nine. Even in overtime, Escalon only hit one basket from the floor. The rest were from the free throw line."

Riverbank led the opening quarter at 12-11; dropped the second, 15-14; lost the third, 16-11; but came storming back to win the last quarter by 10-5 and force the game into overtime. There, however, Escalon got the breaks and made the baskets to win.

"It was a great game. Good hearty rivalry. And Escalon is a very good team," said Jennings. We've lost some games, we've worked hard at this season. The league is very tough, probably the toughest I've seen in my nine years coaching here. We have to prepare carefully for every game."

Eric Rodriguez was high point man for Riverbank, with 14 points. Kevin Cole scored 13 points; Nate Gonzales, 10; Andrew Villalobos, eight; and Kyle Mitchell, four. Cole hit both of Riverbank's 3-pointers.

"Eric is playing very well, said Jennings. "In the last two games, he has averaged double figures in both baskets and rebounds."

The Bruins did not play so well in the away match against Ripon Christian earlier in the week.

"I was disappointed with our efforts. I thought we had a chance of winning. But we didn't show the energy or the perseverance down the stretch," said Jennings. "Our team thrives on energy and effort, and we didn't show enough in this game."

After trailing RC, 8-7, in the opening quarter, the Bruins took an 18-9 dive in the second quarter. They were unable to catch up in the second half despite losing the third period only 19-17, and talking the last quarter, 17-15

Rodriguez posted 18 points to lead the pack. Gonzales scored 10 points; Jon Blount and Cole, seven each; Ray Baca, four; and Villalobos and Juan Lopez, two each. Baca, Blount, Gonzales and Cole shared the outside shots around and each sank one 3-pointer.

At the foul line, the Bruins scored eight out of 10 to Ripon Christian's 17 out of 24.

Having dropped to 4-6 in Trans Valley League play, they have four regular games left and still have a shot at the playoffs, said Jennings.