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Earn NorCal Trip - Bruin Basketball Falls Short Of Finals
0306 B-BB-2
A loose-ball is corralled by 6-7 forwards Connor Morningstar and Rosendo Armaya-Wood of Summerville while Riverbanks Kenny Veliz and Rolaun Dunham fight for a chance at possession. - photo by IKE DODSON/THE NEWS


A thrilling barrage of converted treys gave life to Riverbank High’s varsity boys basketball team late in Wednesday’s showdown with Summerville in the semifinal round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

But it wasn’t quite enough.

Summerville dominated the paint with a trio of 6 foot, 7 inch, 6-6 and 6-7 forwards, mounting a stunning 57-30 lead after three quarters before a 72-55 finish of the Bruins at Tokay High. The loss bounced Riverbank from the SJS bracket, though two postseason wins have qualified the team for entrance in today’s March 6 meeting with host Marin Catholic in the first round of the California Interscholastic Federation Northern California Basketball Championships.

Riverbank trailed Summerville just 21-17 after a period, but floundered in the wake of repeated Bear runs when Bruin three-pointers clanged in-and-out throughout the contest. The same Riverbank team that averaged nearly nine three-pointers a game over their last 17 contests converted only three treys through the first three quarters of play.

“We didn’t make shots, and that kind of dictates our game,” Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings said. “It was one of those things where the rim seemed a little tighter for us.”

Summerville’s big-three in the paint combined for 34 points while 6-3 point-guard Logen Foster gashed the Bruins for 13 points in transition to stifle the comeback attempts.

Riverbank put together a late run to close the gap with two minutes to play, but couldn’t stop Summerville from scoring to match a Bruin scoring parade that surrendered six fourth period treys.

Riverbank’s Rolaun Dunham (junior) led both teams with 25 points. He sank two threes and was a constant appearance in the post, despite an obvious height disadvantage at 6-1. He converted a big three-point play in the second quarter and was often battered by the larger frames of Summerville rebounders.

“We came out hard, but they just out-rebounded us and made their shots,” Dunham said afterwards. “Right now we have to get ready for another game because we have another shot at NorCals.”

Bruin sharpshooter Kenny Veliz leads the Bruins in converted three-pointers, but was scoreless beyond the arc and managed only five points in the contest. His frustration was evident after the defeat.

“It’s so disappointing,” Veliz said. “You work all year to make those shots, but sometimes they don’t fall and things don’t go your way.”

Reilly Nabors and Markus Benson each drained two fourth quarter threes and landed eight points apiece. Tristin Rodgers scored six in the loss. Summerville went on to claim the Division IV Section title at Sleep Train Arena on Saturday.

Riverbank (24-4 overall, 10-2 Trans Valley League) will need much better shooting to combat a Marin Catholic team that went 23-8 this year and 10-4 in the competitive Marin County League of the North Coast Section. The Wildcats won two big games to reach the NCS semifinals, but were defeated 57-48 by bracket champion, Cardinal Newman.

Cardinal Newman nabbed the top seed in the D-IV NorCal bracket, while Marin Catholic escaped with the third seed. Summerville was delegated for the fifth seed despite their section final win over Liberty Ranch and a schedule that includes 17 straight wins.

Marin Catholic is led by the senior tandem of 6-2 guards Nick Calcaterra (17.4 points a game) and Patrick Conroy (16.7). Both have eclipsed the 30-point mark this season and shown versatility in the paint with 42 combined blocked shots and 323 total rebounds.

The NorCal game, being hosted by Marin Catholic, begins at 7 p.m.