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Tournament Time For Cougar Basketball Squads
JV player Natalie Gonzalez, 23, dribbles through the Central Catholic defense during play in this months annual Escalon Lions Club Tournament. The JV girls won two out of three, topping Amador and Central Catholic before losing to Sonora and continue a busy preseason with tournament action on the schedule between Christmas and New Years. Marg Jackson/The Times

School is out for holiday break but that isn’t keeping the basketball players off the court for Escalon.

Both the boys and girls teams are busy with tournament action, with multiple games slated over the long holiday break. The final day of school was Friday, Dec. 19 and classes won’t resume until Monday, Jan. 5.

Between now and then, however, the teams will put in some miles and take on a variety of foes on the hardwood.

In action on the home court earlier, the varsity boys took a 67-53 loss to visiting Argonaut on Tuesday, Dec. 16 while the JV boys were outscored 80-48.

The varsity went on to play in the Carmel Invitational over the weekend, and got a 65-52 victory in a Saturday, Dec. 20 tourney game against Oakwood. A 22-7 run for the Cougars in the final frame put the game away.

They also were scheduled to play in the Mesa Verde Small Schools Challenge Tournament on Monday and Tuesday, after The Times went to press, with a game Monday against Hamilton and against Valley Christian on Tuesday.

Coach Martin Louro will take the varsity boys to the Columbia College Tournament starting Friday, Dec. 26 when they battle Sonora, with additional games in the tourney set for Saturday, Dec. 27 and Monday, Dec. 29.

The JV team was scheduled to participate in the Johansen Tournament with games Saturday, Dec. 20; Monday, Dec. 22 and Tuesday, Dec. 23 this week. Coach Nate Bartelink then gears his team up for a lengthy home stretch, as they play host to a number of schools in its own Cougar Christmas Classic and will open up with a 6 p.m. game against Waterford on Friday, Dec. 26 at 6 p.m.

Escalon’s freshman boys are also scheduled to kick off action in the Christmas Classic on Dec. 26.

The Classic continues with games on Saturday and Monday.

For the Lady Cougars, varsity coach Joseph Dalpogetti saw his team win their opener in the Mesa Verde Small School Challenge on Monday, Dec. 22 against Valley Christian, taking a 50-47 victory off the court. Escalon used a 25-12 run in the fourth quarter to get the win.

Friday, Dec. 19 they were at home for a game against Delhi and nailed down a 45-19 win, holding the visitors to single digits in every quarter and running out to an insurmountable 23-2 lead in the first quarter.

Earlier in the week, they traveled to Stockton to face off with Chavez and lost there, 43-24, outscored 27-8 over the first two periods. Escalon’s freshmen, meanwhile, fell in a 48-19 contest to Chavez.

The varsity girls will continue tournament play in the West Coast Jamboree at Ygnacio Valley High School with games Saturday, Dec. 27; Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 29 and 30.

Escalon’s freshman and JV girls, according to the school schedule, are slated to travel to the Ripon Tournament for games on Saturday, Dec. 27 along with suiting up for Monday, Dec. 29 and Tuesday, Dec. 30 contests.

All teams are getting in as many games as possible as they prepare for Trans-Valley League play, which starts after the first of the year.