By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Varsity Boys Work On Game After Close Loss
Placeholder Image
Riverbank boys cut Ripon Christian's lead to only six points in the last quarter but still lost their Trans Valley League opener, 63-54, in Saturday's home game.

"We did not shoot too well. We need to have balance. We cannot get by on outside shooting alone. We need to do a better job inside at the basket," said Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings.

Drew Villalobos scored 22 points for Riverbank, trailed by Kevin Cole and Eric Rodriguez with 10 each, and Kyle Mitchell, with five points.

"Villalobos had one of the best games I've seen in a long time," said Jennings. "It wasn't just his shooting. He also grabbed a lot of rebounds. He played very courageously, with a lot of heart."

The boys may have been tired from a long day, he noted. They don't generally play on a Saturday and most of them were instructing at the youth basketball clinic that ran all morning.

"They are all volunteers," he said. "They are doing that on their own time Saturday mornings. I have to hand it to them."

In the evening game, Riverbank was on the downside of the score in the first three quarters, 9-13, 13-16, and 16-20, but topped RC by 16-13 in the final period.

The Bruins shot four out of eight baskets at the foul line and sank five attempts from the outside.

Jennings is still optimistic about defeating RC at their second meeting slated on Feb. 1.

"We can beat anybody if we shoot better," he said. "These boys work so hard. We've beaten better and larger schools before."

Riverbank is now 7-6 for the season, whereas RC is undefeated with a 14-0 tally.

In a 49-38 loss to Bret Harte on the Friday night, the Bruins took advantage of the score not counting for the playoffs and pulled all their players off the bench. The Mountain League does not have enough teams to play only twice within their league, so Riverbank provided an opponent.

"We started five new players. Everyone on the squad, 14 players, got a turn on the court," said Jennings.

They included lesser-known players like Ricky Perez and Juan Lopez who has been out of action for a month with a dislocated shoulder. Nate Gonzales also got some playing time. Gonzales is the Bruins best defensive player and is assigned to handle an opponent's most aggressive attacker, said Jennings.

Bret Harte won the first two quarters to lead 18-12 by halftime. Riverbank edged their opponents 16-15 in the third period but lost the last, 10-16.

Villalobos again led with nine points. Juan Lopez shot eight points and Cole, seven. Among outside shooters, Lopez hit two 3-pointers, and Ray Baca, Cole and one each.

At the free throw line, Riverbank sank five out of eight attempts.