RIVERBANK — Junior guard Rolaun Dunham scored a career-high 37 points Friday night, leading No. 3 Riverbank High to a convincing 87-65 victory over sixth-seeded Bret Harte in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 boys basketball tournament.
Seems aptly named, don't you think? Roll on, Rolaun ... Dunham has done 'em in.
Corny, sure. But his was a performance deserving of such hyperbole.
"I was just really excited tonight," said Dunham, who at 6-foot-1 also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out three assists. "The atmosphere was great. We just fed off the intensity of our crowd and the intensity of our bench."
He's being modest.
The Riverbank faithful were, indeed, into the game from the opening tip. But when the fans really got cranked up it was because of a five-minute stretch in the third quarter when Dunham flat-out took over.
Dunham scored his team's first five points after the intermission to provide a slim lead. Two fast-break buckets by Kenny Veliz (21 points) and another from Reilly Nabors (seven points) gave Riverbank a 49-42 lead its largest to that point.
Bret Harte's Will Whited (18 points) countered with a 3-pointer to make it 49-45.
Riverbank would embark on a 19-5 run, with Dunham scoring 11 of those in that span. Most of Dunham's buckets were the result of teammates pounding the ball to him inside the paint.
In fact, the Bruins looked like a different team after halftime, outscoring the Bullfrogs 30-12 in the third quarter. They pressed, they rebounded, they drove the lane, they kicked it out, they knocked down jumpers you name it.
"We talked about keeping the pressure on them and wearing them down," said Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings. "Keep pushing, keep pushing, keep pushing and eventually wear them down."
And they did wear down Bret Harte, which wasn't nearly as deep off the bench as the 'Bank.
"That's been a problem for us this year," said Bullfrogs coach Jeff Eltringham, whose team finishes 21-8. "We're not as deep as Riverbank and I think it showed in the second half."
Despite falling behind by 19 early in the fourth quarter, Bret Harte wouldn't wave the white flag.
A jumper by Tyler Evans (24 points) plus the and-one made it 71-61 with 4:04 to play.
"At that point, 10 points down at the four-minute mark, that's not too bad," Eltringham said. "We can win with that."
But a lay-in from Dunham give Tristan Rodgers the assist on a nifty cross-over-dribble, drive and dish and then a put-back dunk from Dunham wrapped things up.
Riverbank will take on No. 2 Summerville (23-3) in the section semifinals Wednesday at Tokay High School in Lodi. The Bears, who beat Encina Prep 73-69 to advance, lost to Riverbank 68-65 on Nov. 30 at the Riverbank Tournament.