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Lady Cougars Prep For Kickoff Hoop Tournament
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Practices are now in full swing and Escalon's basketball girls are gearing up for the annual Lions Club Tournament, which they will host next week.

"It's your typical Wednesday, Thursday, Friday tournament," said varsity coach Gary Ball. "We did have an unfortunate situation with a team dropping out so our JV will fill a slot in the tournament."

The JV team usually plays just the second and third day, their opponent based on what their varsity counterparts do. But this year, the JV team will play alongside the varsity, taking them on in the opening round.

Ripon dropped out at the varsity level so the field now includes Escalon varsity, Escalon JV, Hughson, Central Catholic, Argonaut, Pitman, Denair and Riverbank.

The tournament begins on Wednesday, Dec. 1 with the first game pitting Riverbank against Denair at 3:30 p.m. It will be Pitman vs. Argonaut at 5 p.m.; Hughson vs. Central Catholic, 6:30 p.m.; Escalon varsity vs. Escalon JV at 8 p.m. Second-day matches will be determined on the outcomes of those games.

"We're out looking for JV teams to fill those two slots," Ball added of the Ripon JV dropping out and the Escalon JV moving up.

Either way, there will be JV teams playing, based on the first day varsity contests.

"This is the 28th Lion's Club Tournament," Ball added.

The girls got on the court for their first practice on Nov. 1, starting with just a handful of players, several still active at that time with volleyball. This week was the first time they have all been together on the court.

"We were able to get going full bore," said Ball.

The girls are scheduled to scrimmage on Saturday, Nov. 27 and then play their first game, against Summerville, on Monday, Nov. 29. Then it will be three games in three days during the tournament.

Five seniors are on the 12-member team this season, with Sandi French, Alyssa Guzman, Amber Anderson, Lauren Brown and Stephanie Horton all suiting up. Juniors are Kacey Ball, Kat Tavares, Kelly Colin, Kara Fisher, Stephanie Williamson and Shannon Krein, with sophomore Jennifer Costa also making the varsity roster.