LODI — Summerville High used a considerable height advantage and a 10-0 run to start the second half en route to a 72-55 victory over Riverbank on Wednesday in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 boys basketball playoffs at Tokay High.
Summerville (24-3) advances to the section championship game, while the season comes to a close for Riverbank (24-4). The Bears will face Liberty Ranch (Galt) on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena. Liberty Ranch defeated Colfax 64-59 in overtime Tuesday.
Rolaun Dunham, the Bruins' guard who scored 37 points in a quarterfinal win against Bret Harte on Friday, led all scorers with 23 points. But at 6-foot-1, Dunham is one of the tallest players on Riverbank's roster. Summerville has a front line that features three players at least 6-foot-6 in Jesse Roberson, Connor Morningstar (6-7) and Rosendo AmayaWood (6-7). In fact, while Riverbank has just one player on its roster at 6-3, Summerville lists seven.
That size, plus Summerville's ability to get out and run, was a dangerous combination for the Bruins.
"They're definitely not your typical big kids," said Riverbank coach Jeff Jennings. "They shoot well, they handle it well. They're a very good team. I'll be rooting for them on Saturday."
With the outside shots not falling for the Bruins most of the night, Summerville was able to pack it in with its zone defense. That prevented Riverbank from the slashing, drive-and-dish game that worked so well for them in the quarterfinals.
"We knew we had to shoot well tonight to have a chance," said Jennings. "We just didn't."
Summerville did. With the Bears holding a 35-25 lead at the intermission, they caught fire and turned a 10-point margin into 27-point chasm. Summerville scored in just about every way imaginable during the onslaught.
"It makes the defense have to cover every part of the floor," said Summerville coach Ben Watson. "We have our 'bigs' we can pound inside to, and if the defense crunches in, we can score from the outside."
Logen Foster led the Bears with 15 points while AmayaWood scored 13 and Morningstar totaled 12. Kyle McLaurin finished with 10, Roberson had nine and Joey Brocchini scored eight
"Our starters this season average between eight and 14 points," said Watson. "We get everybody involved. We preach passing the ball, and these guys are a real tight group."
Despite the size advantage, Summerville came out ready to run with Riverbank, as the game was played at a break-neck pace for much of the first quarter.
Neither team gained much of an advantage during the first eight minutes of action the biggest lead was Summerville's five-point edge at 19-14 but the Bears opened the second stanza on a 10-0 run to take control. That surge, however, seemed to leave Summerville a bit winded as the Bears were unable to stretch the margin.
Despite trailing 27 heading into the final quarter, the Bruins weren't done. Riverbank got 3-pointers from Markus Benson, Tristan Rodgers and Dunham to open the fourth, making it 59-40. Minutes later, Reilly Nabors and Benson went back-to-back from long range to make it 63-46 with 4:28 to play and keep the Bruins' comeback hopes on life support.
But a 3-pointer by McLaurin doused Riverbank's momentum and Summerville coasted into the final.