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Lady Bruins Prep For TVL Hoop Battles
After a full month of play, Riverbank's varsity girls basketball team sports an impressive 8-5 record with Trans-Valley League action growing dangerously close.

If the team can play tough in a difficult TVL schedule they could easily slip into the Division V Sac-Joaquin Division V playoffs with one of 16 seeds.

But a playoff appearance would require some big wins against programs that boast a recent history of victories over the Lady Bruins.

Riverbank has not won a TVL contest in two seasons, their last league victory dating back to a playoff qualifying 2006-07 season. The Bruins entered league play that year with a 7-5 overall record.

"If everybody is healthy we have a shot at the playoffs," Riverbank coach Tim Carnes said. "I think we need at least one win against everybody in league but Modesto Christian."

Riverbank won't face heavy league favorite, Modesto Christian, until Jan. 28, though the team kicks off league play on Jan. 19 against Ripon Christian.

MC is currently ranked 22nd nationally and No. 8 in the state by The Crusaders (9-2) won their first seven games and came away from the prestigious West Coast Jamboree with a 2-2 showing.

That team is led by college-bound seniors Taryn Garza (5 foot, 11 inch forward) and Elizabeth Henton (5-8 guard).

Henton has averaged 21 points a game this season while Garza (15.6 ppg) and 6-1 junior forward Danielle Thompson (14.3 ppg) have also been big.

With the Crusaders likely to finish atop the league standings, Riverbank will push for success against the likes of Hughson (5-4), Ripon Christian (5-5) and Ripon (5-6).

Ripon has missed the playoffs just once in the past seven seasons and may pose the biggest threat of the three after a difficult preseason lineup that included action in the West Coast Jamboree (1-3) and 3-1 run through the Cosumnes Oaks Tournament.

Ripon senior forward Lauren Feddersen (6-0) scored 13 points against Division II North Coast power Clayton Valley during the Indians 53-34 loss on Dec. 30.

Junior guard Kendra Contente (5-9) added 12 points in the loss.

"Ripon has been playing some good teams, and we need to play tough against a team like that," Carnes said. "We are still struggling offensively, but as long as we play good defense we have a chance at winning."

The team is still waiting on starters Veronica Lopez and Kaitlynn Deabenderfer to return to the lineup. Both are waiting to be cleared to play after injuries have brought a halt to their recent action.