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Lady Bruins drop close games
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The Riverbank High School Lady Bruins had a tough week, dropping three of four games.

At the Escalon Tournament, Riverbank bowed out in the semifinals. They easily beat Denair, 61-35, on Dec. 1, but lost a close decision to Pitman (41-36) on Dec. 2. Then, in the semifinal game, they lost to Hughson in overtime, 48-46.

They also lost the exhibition CIF Foundation game on Nov. 30, 42-25, to Johansen, although that game doesn't count in the standings. The Lady Bruins stand at 1-3 overall.

The Denair game was actually tied at halftime, at 28-all. But Riverbank stormed to a 26-8 third-quarter advantage, and also won the fourth quarter, 61-35.

Janette Moya had 12 points, eight rebounds, two assists and four steals to lead Riverbank. Julissa Perez scored 11 and had six steals and three rebounds. Sonia Naranjo put in 10. Monica Cardenas scored nine, Chelsi Walls had eight and Courtney Brock, seven, to lead the well-balanced attack. Nicole Fatone had two.

"We decided to pressure the ball, and they didn't handle it very well," said head coach Scott Ericksen. "We started getting some fast-break baskets."

In the next game against Pitman, Riverbank was poised for another win with a 32-25 lead after three quarters. But the Pride rallied for a 16-4 fourth-quarter advantage and stole the game by five points.

"We started making silly mistakes on offense, and they got some momentum," Ericksen said. "We couldn't make a shot, but we played hard and were competitive."

Cardenas had nine points, seven rebounds - excellent board numbers for a point guard - two assists and four steals. Moya scored 10 points, and Brock had nine points and six boards.

The next night against Hughson in the semifinal game, the game was close throughout but the Lady Tigers outscored Riverbank, 8-6 in the overtime period to win by two.

"We just didn't play to our potential," Ericksen said. "We acted like we didn't want to win. We missed four free throws in overtime, and they made a couple of baskets down the stretch."

Cardenas had 11 points, seven rebounds and four steals, while Moya had 11 points and two boards. Brock had seven points and four rebounds.

In earlier action, Johansen outscored Riverbank 14-3 in the second quarter en route to a 42-25 CIF Foundation game win. Naranjo scored nine points to lead the Lady Bruins in the game, and Cardenas put in six.

"We seemed like we were just going through the motions," Ericksen said. "They killed us on the boards."

Overall, the team has had a slow start but Ericksen remains optimistic.

"We're starting slow, but we've had signs of playing well," he said. "We just ever put together for four quarters. But we're improving."

The varsity girls host Gustine tonight, Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.