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Riverbank Girls Finish Strong To Oust Escalon Varsity
After a quarter of play, Escalon High's girls basketball team seemed primed to challenge Riverbank for rights to their first Trans-Valley League victory of the young season.

By the end, crafty steals seemed to give Riverbank repeated possessions before the Cougars could even think of scoring.

The Bruins bounced back from a 10-9 deficit after a period with a 32-16 rally to close the game and cruised past visiting Escalon with a 51-26 final score on Jan. 5.

Angel Harrell (six points) and Olivia Luu (15 points) each nabbed six steals in a contest that plagued Cougar ball handlers.

"I'm starting to see us turn into a basketball team," Bruin coach Tim Carnes said. "We are working well together and executing our offense well."

It's a good time to play good basketball, considering Riverbank is one of five TVL teams with an overall record of 9-5 or better. The Lady Bruins fell 77-45 to three-time Sac-Joaquin Section champion Modesto Christian on Jan. 3, but continued league play with a Jan. 9 meeting with Orestimba (5-10) on Monday for a chance to climb the TVL ladder.

A showdown with Hilmar (11-4) on Thursday, Jan. 12, begins a stretch of four straight games against the best teams in the TVL.

Riverbank was outscored just 31-29 in the second half of their contest with Modesto Christian, but couldn't erase an early deficit after the Crusaders' press defense had surrendered 22-6 and 24-10 MC rallies in the first two periods.

Olivia Luu scored 23 points with two steals in the loss while Janelle Luu added 11 points and six rebounds. Tiffany Edgar added nine rebounds with four points.

Edgar tallied eight rebounds and four points against Escalon while Janelle Luu managed 15 points and 13 rebounds. Vanessa Vargas (seven points) and Tori Sandoval (four points) also contributed in the win. Harrell was recognized by coach Carnes for her tough play against MC and the big defensive effort to limit Escalon just three days later.

"She is proving to be the Bobby Jackson of our team," Carnes said. "Her footwork is getting better and she is really improving."

The host Lady Bruins took a loss to the Escalon JV, but the freshman girls were 40-29 winners over the visitors.