Last season, Riverbank High’s Ylii Lopez hit a 75-foot shot that found its way into ESPN’s nightly “Top Plays” feature.
Friday night, in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV play-in game, Lopez attempted a shot at the buzzer from half-court and nearly came through with another miracle
“It hit the rim,” said said Bruins coach Jeff Jennings, “but unfortunately there was no SportsCenter magic tonight.”
Fifteenth-seeded Riverbank’s season came to an end with an 86-84 loss to No. 18 Highlands (North Highlands), which advances to play second-seeded Liberty Ranch on Wednesday.
Lopez scored 24 points and grabbled nine rebounds for the Bruins, while teammate Wolfgang Lopez poured in 23 points.
Trailing by six with about a minute to play, the Bruins cut the lead to 86-84 with 24 seconds remaining. The Scots had a chance to salt away the game at the free throw line, but Devonte Howard missed pair and Ylii Lopez came down with the rebound that set up a three-point attempt by Juan Hernandez.
Hernandez’s shot, like Lopez’s half-court attempt, hit the front rim and bounced away.
“He had a good, clean look,” said Jennings, who lost all five starters off last year’s team that won a game in the D-IV Northern California tournament. “It just didn’t go.
“It was a good game in a fun environment, which is one of the perks of being at home in the playoffs.”
In Friday’s other D-IV play-in game, No. 17 Delhi fell to No. 16 San Juan 80-47 in Citrus Heights.
Chavez 68, Merced 62, at Stockton – The Titans (18-10) closed the game with a 13-2 run to end the Bears’ season. Merced (17-11) led most of the game behind 19 points from Ulonzo Gilliam and 18 points from A.J. Stewart.
Rodriguez 54, Golden Valley 38, at Fairfield – The Cougars were held to just one field goal in the fourth quarter – an uncontested layup by Lee McNeill with seven seconds to play. The Cougars (14-13) had just six points in the final stanza, with McNeill adding four free throws.
Patterson 71, Inderkum 69, at Patterson – The No. 16 Tigers (17-11) advance to face top-seeded Christian Brothers (Sacramento) with a win in what was the last home game for outgoing coach Brian de la Porte, who announced earlier this week that he’ll step down at season’s end.
In the other D-III game involving a Stanislaus District team, No. 18 Ceres (14-11) scored a mild upset over No. 15 El Dorado with a 58-54 win in Placerville.
Merced 51, Edison 47, at Stockton – Sami Dinkins (nine rebounds) and the Merced girls basketball team started doing the dirty work on the boards in the second half. With Edison’s second-chance points limited, the Bears (14-10) pulled away behind Symone Gilliam (14 points) and Alexis Pierce (11).