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Lady Cougar Squads Winless In Week's Play
Modesto Christian came to town and went home with a pair of basketball wins, the host Lady Cougars falling to the Crusaders in Monday night action, Jan. 24.

It was the only game of the week for the JV and varsity teams, both with a Thursday night league bye. The freshmen, meanwhile, took on Bret Harte because MC does not have a frosh squad. Escalon's freshmen fell in that contest.

The varsity girls, with coach Kristie Cathcart, fell behind early and turned the ball over multiple times in the first half, unable to handle the Crusaders' pressure.

It was a 33-2 lead for MC after one quarter, 56-7 at the half.

"They (officials) used a running clock in the second half," said Cathcart, adding that the Modesto Christian coach called off the press for the second half as well and the MC players stayed back in a zone.

Escalon was able to shoot a little bit more and converted a few more shots, putting in eight points in the third quarter to MC's eight and nine points in the fourth to the 16 scored by the Crusaders. The final score was 80-24.

The varsity squad had trouble getting down the court to set up an offense, hampered by the tenacious MC defense.

Modesto Christian going into a zone in the second half allowed Escalon to get back on their game and Cathcart said the players responded well, playing tough over the third and fourth quarters.

"We were happy with the second half," she agreed.

Elysha Bergwerff had 17 points on the night, including five buckets from 3-point range. Lily Cajias had four points, Caitlin Brooks chipped in with two and Cierra Clason sank a free throw for a point.

The girls were slated to play at Riverbank on Monday night, Jan. 31 after The Times went to press and host Ripon in Thursday night action, Feb. 3.

Junior Varsity

The JV Lady Cougars very nearly came away with a win over the visiting Crusaders, but one tough quarter doomed them. The final was 48-42 in favor of Modesto Christian, though Escalon took an 8-6 lead after one quarter. MC turned it on and outscored the Escalon girls 17-5 in the second to lead it 23-13 at the half. Escalon kept pace, trailing just 14-12 in the third quarter, and then ramped it up to outscore MC 17-11 over the final eight minutes.

"The second quarter lost the game for us," said coach Joseph Dalpogetti. "I'm not really sure what happened, we just couldn't score ... we allowed Modesto Christian to get into their groove."

The Crusaders bank on points from three primary players, said Dalpogetti, and each of them put in at least five points in the second quarter alone.

"We cut the deficit to two points with two to three minutes left in the game," he said of continuing to fight. "Then MC hit a big shot with 1:30 left that broke our backs."

Kaitlin DaDalt paced the team with 14 points and Parker Pilati had 11, including a huge 3-point basket in the fourth quarter to get her team to within two points. Kaitlyn Kelly added seven points in the effort.

"She also had to guard, without a doubt, the best player we've seen all year," Dalpogetti noted of Kelly.

The coach is already looking forward to the rematch at the end of the season, working on a game plan that hopefully will produce a win for his team against the Crusaders.

"My girls played with a lot of heart and put together a good effort," he said. "Even though we didn't win, it was good to see them scratch and claw their way back in."


Hosting Bret Harte on Monday, the final was 34-28 in favor of the Bullfrogs.

"It ended up being a close game," said coach Andrew Beam. "We were down 10-0 to start, that hurt us a lot."

Escalon scored eight points in the second quarter to Bret Harte's six, so were trailing 16-8 at the half. They were unable to make up the early deficit over the third and fourth quarters, falling by six.

"The girls fought back, they got to within four points but just couldn't make it all the way back," Beam said.

Claudia Gomez was the leading scorer with eight points, Mady Costa added four, continuing to show great improvement from the start of the season. Maggie Casteel had four points as well and six out of the seven players got into the scorebook in a well-rounded effort.

The freshmen will kick off the Thursday, Feb. 3 trio of frosh-JV-varsity league games with Ripon on the home court, hosting the Indians at 4:30 p.m.

"We've played them twice before, they've been real close, low-scoring defensive games," Beam said, adding he's hopeful his girls will get the win on the home court.