Keeping up a hectic pace, the varsity basketball boys played three games this past week. They faced off against Central Valley in non-league play, then took on Ripon in Valley Oak League action.
On Tuesday, they defeated Central Valley by a 73-62 final.
“We maintained a pretty comfortable lead throughout; they made a run late but we were able to finish it off,” said head coach Nate Bartelink. “Five guys scored for us, four of the five were in double figures.”
Brenden Holmes paced the effort with 19 points and Jack Anderson had a varsity career high 16 points. Russell Weinbrecht also scored 16, Dillon Watson added 14 and Joe Wolaver chipped in with eight points.
Escalon built up a 40-27 lead at the half on the way to the win.
“Then we played Ripon for two games, Thursday we were home and lost 67-51,” said Bartelink. “We were up 15-12 after one quarter but after that, we just didn’t play very well; there was not that intensity and it just didn’t seem like a typical Escalon-Ripon game.”
Down just 31-26 at the half, Escalon was doubled up by Ripon, 26-13 in the third with the Indians extending their lead and then taking the win.
“We kind of played flat, we were not real physical and Ripon got to a lot of loose balls, got a lot of second chance points,” explained Bartelink.
Weinbrecht had 18 points, Holmes 15, Anderson nine and Ty Harris added eight.
Friday, the team was on the road for a game at Ripon and though it was a bounce back game, the final score saw the Indians holding on for a 65-64 win.
“Unfortunately we lost by one in a back and forth battle; we made a nice little comeback in the fourth and outscored them 19-14,” Bartelink said. “Brenden hit a 3 to tie it, 64-64, with about 30 seconds left.”
Ripon set up for the last shot of the game but Weinbrecht was called for a foul; the Ripon player sank one of the two free throws for the 65-64 lead. Escalon drew up a play for the final seconds but could only manage a desperation half-court shot at the buzzer, the shot failing to connect.
“The guys responded, they played with passion in this game,” Bartelink said. “They were pretty crushed, especially the seniors since it was their last crack at Ripon but the loss wasn’t due to effort, they played at a high level.”
Holmes had one of his best games of the season, hitting four 3’s and pouring in 31 points along with guarding one of Ripon’s best players.
Weinbrecht had 16 and Harris put in 11.
“We walked out of there proud of our effort, disappointed with the outcome but we can definitely live with how hard we played,” Bartelink noted.
Against Central Valley on May 18, it was a 61-37 victory for the JV boys, paced by the 15-point night from Julian Borrego. Adding 12 points apiece were Logan Anderson and Ben Fletcher. Ethan Garza scored seven, Ayden Wilson and Zack Valencia each had six in the win.
The JV boys then went on to take two games against the Ripon Indians, winning 56-40 at home on Thursday and cruising to an 81-37 victory on the road Friday night.
In the win at home, Fletcher scored a team high 21 points, with 13 from Donovan Rozevink and 12 from Valencia.
Friday saw plenty of players get involved in the scoring, with everyone in the line-up making it onto the score sheet. Cam Ruiz had 16 points including four 3’s; Rozevink and Valencia scored 15 points apiece.
“Sawyer Mello had 14 points, a career high and he had 12 of those in the fourth quarter, plus he had at least 10 rebounds so he had a double-double,” Bartelink explained.
Borrego and Anderson had eight points each and rounding out the effort was Derek Fragosa with five points.
Escalon’s freshmen won 66-26 over Central Valley to start off the Cougar sweep on Tuesday night. Donovan Rozevink, who has split his time between the freshman and JV squads this season, paced all freshmen with 30 points on the night. Sammy Sandoval had 11 including a trio of treys and Jamin Miller put in seven.
Against Ripon on Thursday, the Indians won 70-37, with some of the frosh boys moving up to the JV roster for that game. Jagger Scott had 17 points in the loss while Luke Maxwell added nine.
“Friday at Ripon, we lost the game but it was much more competitive,” noted Bartelink.
He said the young players worked hard and were paced by the effort of Scott, with 15 points, Miller with 14, Cameron Dalpogetti with nine and Sandoval with seven. The final was 70-54 in Ripon’s favor.
“It was good to get those freshman kids some experience; they played seven games, they were limited based on teams the other schools had,” Bartelink explained. “I was happy with their efforts this season.”