Escalon’s varsity basketball girls started the Trans-Valley League season off with a win on the road.
They went to Riverbank for the Thursday, Dec. 20 contest and took a 52-45 win off the court.
Prior to that, they played at Galt, a team they had seen previously in the Linden Tournament and won 41-33.
They were on the road for that non-league contest on Dec. 17.
“We got off to a hot start that game and were up 10-0 and we had their best player in foul trouble so she had limited minutes,” head coach Joseph Dalpogetti explained. “We knew this game would be different coming in; we would have a target on our backs.”
The coach noted that Escalon came back to beat two opponents they had previously lost to in tournament action and expected the same battle from Galt, looking to avenge an earlier loss.
Up 16-10 after one and 25-17 at the half, the Lady Cougars withstood an early second half rally and put the game in the win column.
“It was 33-25 after three and we won 46-32,” Dalpogetti explained. “They did score the first six points of the third to cut it to two points. We just had to clean up our game a little offensively and stop turning the ball over.”
When his team did that, the coach noted, they were able to build up the double digit lead and put the game away.
Brooke Campbell paced the team with 19 points.
Thursday, it was another road game for the Lady Cougars, heading to nearby Riverbank for the TVL opener.
“Riverbank came out and played hard, they were aggressive on both sides of the ball and have a good post that gave us problems,” said Dalpogetti.
In a tight game early, Escalon had a 15-13 lead after the first quarter and extended that to 35-25 at the half.
They outscored Riverbank 11-3 in the third to get some breathing room, leading 46-28 heading into the final frame.
“We let up off the gas inexplicably in the fourth,” the coach said. “I think once we got up 20 we expected Riverbank to quit, but hats off to them because they never did and they made it interesting in the final two minutes.”
The lead never dropped below seven points in the fourth quarter, but the host Lady Bruins stole some momentum, even though Escalon held on for the 52-45 victory.
Leading scorers for Escalon were Alexa Gomez with 22 points on the night, Katie Karp with 15.
“Between the two of them, they had nine of our 10 3’s,” said Dalpogetti.
The varsity girls will take part in a competitive 16-team tournament at Tracy High School from Dec. 26 through 29 over the holiday break.
“We have the opportunity to play some programs that we have a lot of respect for,” Dalpogetti noted. “It should be good for us and get us better for the rest of league.”
The young Lady Cougars crafted a 52-12 victory on the road to start their league season off on a winning note as well.
Second year head coach Robbie Leal said his team was able to jump out early and used the fact that Riverbank had only five players suited up to their advantage.
“They had to play conservatively so we tried to press,” he said. “We were up 10-0 within the first three minutes of the game.”
All his players got some time on the court and everyone but one player got on the score sheet in the TVL opener.
“It was a learning game for us,” Leal added, noting that the team was able to work on some set plays and strategies as they worked with a variety of different line-ups on the court.
“It was a good way to start off league,” Leal said.
He termed the team’s preseason “interesting” with a 2-1 showing in the Escalon Tournament, including a forfeit win, then taking part in the East Union Tournament and playing against a tough Bret Harte opponent.
“We struggle against pressure,” Leal said. “We’re working on teaching the girls a new style, a new mindset.”
The JV girls are scheduled to play in the Ripon Tournament, Dec. 26 through 28.