By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Effort Solid But Varsity Girls Come Up Short In Pair

If success can be measured by improvement, Escalon's varsity basketball girls succeeded this week against Modesto Christian.

They didn't win - but they had a better effort than the first time they saw the Crusaders in league play.

"We scored nine more points this time than the first time we played them, they scored just one more," coach Kristie Cathcart said.

At Modesto Christian for the Tuesday, Jan. 22 contest, the varsity girls lost by a final score of 65-16. Though it was again lopsided, Cathcart said it was better than the 64-5 defeat the time before.

"We did much better in the first half this time," Cathcart said of keeping the explosive MC offense somewhat under control, with the Crusaders leading 10-4 after one and 26-7 at the half. "We had a couple lapses in the second half, they got 25 points in the third quarter."

With Escalon notching just seven in that frame, it put the game far enough out of reach that MC was assured on the win. The host team had a 14-2 run in the fourth quarter.

Six players got on the board for Escalon, led by Mckenzie Brown and Misty Hipsher with four points each. Katie Kaech had three, Kaylan Aufdermaur and Kaitlyn Brayton each chipped in two and Katie Aprile had one.

On Friday night, Jan. 25, Cathcart said the lack of fouls called in the JV game just prior to the varsity contest prompted her to tell her team to be ready for a battle.

"I told them, 'they're (refs) not calling anything so be ready to go inside, go up to the basket and have eight arms on you'," she explained. "We were afraid to shoot early, but we did much better in the second half."

Ripon Christian came to Escalon for the contest and ran out to a 10-2 lead after one quarter, then had a 9-6 scoring edge in the second to lead it 19-8 at the half. Despite a solid effort from Escalon, they lost the decision 47-28.

Neither team could get on the scoreboard in the opening minutes, with Ripon Christian finally breaking through. Escalon took a timeout with 3:45 to play in the opening frame, trailing 6-0. They managed just one bucket in that quarter and got two 3-pointers from Megan Moore in the second quarter for their points. Ripon Christian was called for one foul in the first half, one in the second, so the Lady Cougars didn't go to the free throw line once during the contest.

Meanwhile, the visiting RC Lady Knights went to the line several times, as the host team was called for 17 fouls.

The lack of calls - and the fact that those that were called went against Escalon - even resulted in the first-ever technical foul for coach Cathcart. The crowd also let the referees know how they felt about the way the game was called ... and the duo asked for an escort to their vehicle after the contest.

Moore was the leading scorer on the night for Escalon, hitting four 3's and contributing 14 total points. Noelle Bellino had six, Aufdermaur had four, with two each from Aprile and Kaech. The team was hampered by a less-than-100 percent Kaech, battling some stomach problems, and playing without Brayton, sidelined by an ear infection.

With those two hopefully at full strength the next time the two teams meet, the Lady Cougars could come up with a win. And, hopefully, the Escalon girls will have the chance to shoot some free throws.

"They (Ripon Christian) were 13-for-20 from the line," Cathcart said of the Friday night contest. "We didn't shoot any free throws."

A busy week for Escalon this week has them facing off with three league opponents. They were slated to host Riverbank on Monday, Jan. 28 after The Times went to press. They will be at Hughson on Thursday, Jan. 31 and play a 5 p.m. contest at home against Ripon on Saturday, Feb. 2.

The girls are 2-6 in league play.