A comeback win over Ripon Christian, a victory over Ripon and a solid thumping of Livingston saw Escalon’s varsity basketball girls put all three Trans-Valley League games in the win column this past week.
They opened up at home, hosting Ripon Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 30.
“We knew it would be a different game this time around because we didn’t see their stud guard Maddie Yonker in round one due to an injury,” said Escalon head coach Joseph Dalpogetti. “They also packed in a zone and made driving lanes difficult. We trailed much of the first half and actually were down 27-17 at halftime.”
At the half, the coach said they talked more about accountability than the X’s and O’s of the game and the team responded.
“We had a little bit of a gut check which is healthy for any team to face throughout the season,” he said.
Madi Babasa lit the fire defensively in the second half, Ari Velasco hit a key three, Ashley Titsworth made a nice pass to Sammy Lang for a quick lay-up and the varsity girls cut in to the lead.
“We still trailed much of the second half but never by more than five,” the coach said. “We finally took the lead on another Ari three-pointer that gave a us a two-point lead.”
Up by two with 52 seconds left, Dalpogetti said the team then ran a perfect possession.
“We ran the entire 30-second shot clock down as Sammy hit a turnaround jumper off the glass from the right block as the buzzer sounded to give us a two-possession lead with 22 seconds to go.”
From there, the defense kicked in and Lang got a steal, which turned in to free throws for Velasco at the other end of the court and the Lady Cougars sealed the win, 44-39. Lang had 16 points, Velasco 14.
Thursday, it was a quick trip to Ripon, where the girls crafted a 52-24 win.
Escalon was up 28-12 at the half, finally breaking the game open in the third to take a 44-16 lead into the final quarter.
Lang had 16 points, Velasco 11 and Babasa had 10.
“Macie Vickers also made her long-awaited return against Ripon and in limited action she had seven points,” said the coach.
Friday, Feb. 2 it was Senior Night as the varsity girls hosted Livingston. Honored in pre-game ceremonies were Ashley Titsworth, Sammy Lang, Macie Vickers and Chloe Farley.
“They are an incredible group of seniors who have been integral in turning our program around,” Dalpogetti said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better, more entertaining, more competitive group to coach the last few years.”
The final score of the game was 45-22 and Dalpogetti said it gave them an opportunity to work on some different sets offensively while running some zone defense.
“The final score was not indicative of the flow of the game,” the coach added. “Livingston scored two points in the first and five in the second, we led 26-7 at the half.”
Lang had 12 points on the night, Velasco had 11.
“I like where our defense is right now but we have a lot of work to do,” Dalpogetti said of getting ready for playoffs.
The girls were scheduled to play at Hughson on Tuesday, Feb. 6 and go to Hilmar for a 5:30 p.m. game Friday, playing in between the JV and varsity boys games.
Seniors Vickers and Titsworth agreed they have enjoyed their time on the court and are looking forward to postseason play.
“What I enjoy most about being a part this team is just everyone connecting together and being able to go out there to each game and we play as a family and it’s just great,” Titsworth said, adding that she feels her game has improved over the years she spent on the court for EHS. “I play bigger than I actually am, sometimes it’s hard to get down there and box out the big girls but I try my best.”
“Making a run in the postseason, that definitely is a goal for the whole team,” Vickers added. “We went far last year so we’re hoping to accomplish more than we did last year.”
Escalon ended the week at 23-2 overall.