A bittersweet homecoming

Iventosch enjoys return to the foothills despite Dominican’s loss to Jessup at Common Good
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS — Ari Iventosch didn’t quite have the homecoming he was hoping for. The Colfax High graduate returned to the Sierra Nevada foothills on Friday when the Dominican University men’s basketball team played William Jessup University of Rocklin in Del Oro High’s gymnasium. The game, a matchup between two teams tied for first place in the NAIA’s California Pacific Conference, was part of the Common Good Classic, the basketball event that Del Oro hosted for the second straight year. Starting for Dominican for the first time since breaking and spraining his right wrist before Thanksgiving, Iventosch scored 11 points, but the Penguins ultimately fell to William Jessup 73-48. “It was good to see all the familiar faces in the stands,” Iventosch said. “I always enjoy coming back and playing before my buddies. I only wish we’d had a little different outcome.” The 6-foot-2 junior guard/forward shot 50 percent from the field (4-for-8), hitting both of Dominican’s only 3-pointers. “My shooting’s not all the way back yet,” said Iventosch, who played with a black brace on his right wrist. “It’s getting there, though. (Friday) was the most confident I’ve felt so far.” Iventosch tried to come back after a month off, but wound up shooting more with his left hand, which is not his dominant one. He took an additional two weeks off so his right wrist could get stronger. “He’s just now getting back into the flow of things,” Penguins coach Bret Tovani said. “From this point forward, he’ll get even better.” Iventosch had played in 10 of Dominican’s 16 games before Friday’s contest at Del Oro, averaging 8.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He was the Cal Pac Conference’s first Player of the Week this season back in early November, when he averaged 17.5 points, five rebounds and 3.5 assists in the Penguins’ first two games. Though he’s capable of scoring from and defending on the perimeter, Iventosch isn’t afraid to go inside and bang against opposing players for rebounds. “He can do everything for us,” Tovani said. “He’s a kid who we’ve had to play probably in three different spots since he’s been here. He can dominate at the two (shooting guard), three (small forward) and the four (power forward), and if he had to he’d probably even play the five (center).” Iventosch isn’t the only member of his family on Dominican’s roster. His younger brother Joel is red-shirting this season and will likely play with his older sibling when the Penguins make the jump from the NAIA to NCAA Division II next fall. “He does a great job in practice — he’s probably the best redshirt we’ve had here,” Iventosch said. “It’s our first time together. It’s been a blast — it’s always a good time having family with you. You’ve got a built-in friend.” Dominican, the reigning Cal Pac Conference champion, fell into second place after Friday’s loss. The Penguins (8-9, 5-2 Cal Pac) were buried by William Jessup’s 3-point shooting. The Warriors (10-11, 6-1) were 11-for-24 from behind the arc. Iventosch is already itching for some payback when the Penguins host the Warriors on Valentine’s Day. “This was just one of those games where everything worked right for them and we struggled to take care of our strengths,” Iventosch said. “It should be a real battle when they come to our place.”