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Free Throws Lift Varsity Basketball Girls Past Downey
Earning a split of games, Escalon's varsity girls topped Downey and lost to Oakdale in basketball action.

They hosted Downey on Dec. 20, winning 43-35.

"We lost to them by three points in our (Lion's Club) tournament so it was nice to get them," said coach Kristie Cathcart.

The teams were knotted, 23-23, at the half, with the Lady Cougars pulling away in the second half with a 9-6 scoring edge in the third quarter, 11-6 in the fourth.

"We were 17-for-22 in free throws, Elysha Bergwerff was 8-for-10 and Ami Hood was 6-for-8, that helped us win," Cathcart said.

The fourth quarter, in fact, featured just one basket and the rest of the Escalon points in the final frame came from the free throw line, the squad finding a way to convert on the chances.

"It was close, a hard fought game," Cathcart added. "The girls got into a rhythm and they were able to hit the shots."

Bergwerff had two 3-point baskets and got the rest of her points on free throws to lead the team with 14 total points. Hood put in 12, with seven from Lily Cajias, four each from Caitlin Brooks and Liz Mendonca and two points from Cierra Clason.

On Tuesday, Dec. 21, the girls traveled to Oakdale and lost by a 43-30 final, with one Oakdale player - Cassandra Clark - putting in 32 of her team's points.

"She was stealing the ball, creating plays, without her they didn't have much of a team," Cathcart said.

But Clark was able to carry her squad past the visitors, with Escalon having a hard time getting started, putting in just eight points in the first two quarters, trailing 24-8 at the half.

"They decided they wanted to play (in the second half) and started to play better," Cathcart said, noting that her team won the second half, outscoring Oakdale 22-19 over the third and fourth quarters.

Hood was the leading scorer with eight points, Bergwerff chipped in six, with five each from Brooks and Cajias. Mendonca had four points and Presli Pilati put in two.

Cathcart said she would have preferred two wins but will settle for the split.

"It was nice to beat Downey, a Division I school, and in Oakdale, that one player is good and she really makes their team," she said.

The girls were scheduled to play Monday through Wednesday in the Ripon Christian Tournament.

Trans-Valley League play begins when school resumes, as the girls host Riverbank on Thursday, Jan. 6.