Looking toward the future of Escalon basketball – both boys and girls – the popular Cub Basketball program is again in full swing, as is the Escalon Recreation Department’s youth basketball.
For the Cub program, members of the Escalon High School basketball programs, both players and coaches, help run the Saturday clinics.
“We have 171 kids in Cub basketball, we have five divisions,” said EHS varsity boys basketball head coach Martin Louro.
There are six teams for the 7- and 8-year-old boys; seven teams for 9-10 boys; four teams in the 11-14 group. For the girls, there are four teams in the 7- to 9-year-old age group and five teams in the 10-14 age group.
Utilizing the new gym at EHS and the El Portal gym in the morning on Saturdays, there is plenty of hoops action, with the old and new gyms at the high school and El Portal also filled with Cub players in the afternoon. Saturday mornings, the Escalon Recreation Department program fills the old gym with the younger hoop enthusiasts.
“I think things are running real smooth,” Louro said of having drills and games on Saturdays, with players helping out and a lot of basketball knowledge being passed on.
“Overall I think it’s much more productive for the students, the young players, also for the high school guys and girls getting a chance to work with young people,” Louro said. “It’s a chance for them to give a little bit back to the community that has given them so much.”
Louro said the Escalon rec program is a good feeder program for the Cub basketball, and that the two work well together.
For varsity player Julianna Martinez, she enjoys helping out and teaching youngsters about the game.
“I like the little attitudes they have, it’s kind of adorable,” she said. “Teaching helps me get better at my game, too.”
Nine-year-old Macie Vickers said she liked “getting out play with all the girls my age” and Avery Alves listed “getting to shoot baskets” as her favorite part.
Louro noted that girls varsity head coach Joseph Dalpogetti and assistant Robbie Leal oversee the girls program, while Louro and his assistant coaches focus primarily on the boys.
“It is just a lot of fun, nice to see this many people interested in the sport that I love,” Louro explained. “It’s great to see them improving, getting better and having fun.”
The Cub program will wrap up on March 5, with a year-end tournament.