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Varsity Bruin Boys Give Modesto Christian A Scare
Modesto Christian High's basketball success in the Trans-Valley League is almost comical at this point.

Neither their boys nor girls team has lost a conference game since their admission to the league for the 2006-07 season.

The boys have seen virtually no league opposition, and sport 10 consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in Divisions I (2001, 2002), IV (2000, 2008, 2009, 2010) and V (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007).

That same program saw their perfect TVL record in serious jeopardy at home on Friday, Jan. 28.

The Crusaders trailed Riverbank 61-54 after three quarters of play, but rallied behind late foul calls to drain key free throws and sneak past the Bruins in an 84-79 final.

The five-point separation represents the closest a TVL program has come to beating the MC boys in league history. It was the second time during the week the Crusaders had been pushed, tested equally as hard by Escalon in a Tuesday night contest.

"After the game you could see that the boys were not at all satisfied to simply have the game be that close," Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings said. "We went in there with the intention of winning that game, and we just let it slip away."

Riverbank's fourth quarter skid went Modesto Christian's way after a questionable call resulted in the fifth foul from Bruin leading scorer Zack Gonzales, who was then forced to leave the game. Jennings voiced his discontent with call, and was given a technical foul as well.The Crusaders converted their final attempts from the foul line to steal a late lead and cling to it as time expired.

"It was a critical play, him fouling out on a situation where I felt he shouldn't have," Jennings said. "I felt like I needed to stand up for the guys and let them know it wasn't okay, but it cost us a few points and it became a factor in the loss."

Gonzales led Riverbank with 20 points and 12 rebounds against the Crusaders. Antony Navarette (10 rebounds) and Alex Reynaga scored 12 points each. Ivan Manriquez added 11 points, while Rolaun Dunham scored nine with three steals. Manual Jimenez chipped in eight points.

The Sac-Joaquin Section released its first run of the D-IV power ratings on Monday, though results were not posted at press time. The ratings (found at will give the first look of where Riverbank might fall in the playoff bracket. The top eight teams host a first round contest, while the top-16 will see at least one postseason game.

Riverbank made a case for a decent seed by bouncing Hughson in an 80-39 score on Jan. 25 to finish the first half of league at 3-3.

Gonzales scored 18 points with 11 rebounds while Dunham added 13 points. Jimenez (11), Navarette (nine), Robert Martinez (eight), Bruce Gong (seven) and Reynaga (five) also chipped in scores.

Riverbank was given a chance to avenge a loss to Escalon in a showdown at the Cougar gym on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The Bruins host Orestimba for Homecoming night on Friday. Varsity tips off at 7:30 p.m.