Though they are missing a few players still busy on the football field, the Escalon Cougars varsity boys basketball team has kept up a hectic pace in the preseason.
They have been on the road and hosted a game at home and head coach Nate Bartelink said he has seen some good performances.
That, despite having a bit of the flu bug hit the team as well as being without a handful of players due back after the football season ends.
On Nov. 27, the team got a 67-37 win at home against Waterford. Brenden Holmes had 17 points, including three 3’s on the night while Clayton Ferreira had 16 points, also with a trio of treys. Miguel Marmol added 15.
“It was a good way to start the year,” Bartelink said of the big win and having three players in double figures.
At Bret Harte on Dec. 3, the boys got a 48-40 win.
“We were down by one at the half but then held them to just 13 points in the second half,” Bartelink explained. “This was a good road win early in the year.”
Holmes had 17 points while Dylan Ruiz had 13, including three 3’s. Russell Weinbrecht, back from the flu, made his presence felt with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Thursday, Dec. 4 at Tokay it took a little extra time but the boys earned a 65-56 overtime win.
“They just stepped up the level of play,” said Bartelink, noting that the Cougars outscored the host Tokay team 10-1 in the overtime period.
Weinbrecht went off for 24 points and 12 rebounds with three 3-pointers, Holmes had 16 points and 11 rebounds with Ruiz also in double figures with 10 points.
“I was pleased with the effort,” added Bartelink, with the team staying composed and taking the OT win on the road.
Saturday, Dec. 7 they traveled to Oakdale for a non-league game and fell in a 68-52 decision.
“The first quarter was the difference, they outscored us 25-15,” Bartelink said. “They hit eight of their first nine shots and they have some talented guys.”
Holmes had a game to remember, however, with 29 points and seven rebounds, hitting five shots from 3-point range. Weinbrecht added 12 points and seven rebounds.
The JV boys, meanwhile, won against Waterford but then took losses to Bret Harte, Tokay and Oakdale. For the freshmen, they have started strong with wins against Waterford, Bret Harte and Tokay before losing at Oakdale.