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Lady Cougars take convincing win at home
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Losing at Hilmar to kick off the week, the varsity Lady Cougars rebounded with a solid effort at home against Livingston to split their games.

They improved to 4-4 in Trans-Valley League action with the split.

At Hilmar on Monday, Jan. 26, the girls found themselves on the wrong end of a 54-35 score.

"They've got good athletes," varsity head coach Gary Ball said simply. "They came out and attacked us heavy, it was 15-6 after one quarter."

The Lady Cougars were down 31-13 at the half and just tried to keep pace in the second half.

"We worked on a few things," Ball said of basically conceding the game at half to the stronger Yellowjacket team.

Lauren Brown came on late in the game for the team, putting in all eight of her game-high total points in the fourth quarter. Sandi French added six, Alyssa Guzman had five.

Hosting Livingston in a Thursday night game, Jan. 29, the girls made sure the contest didn't slip away, topping the Wolves 45-24.

"Livingston was a reverse of the Hilmar game," Ball said. "We knew we could beat them down there and we did, we also wanted to beat them at home.

"They are struggling right now and it would have been very disappointing if we had lost."

Jumping out to a 10-2 lead in the first quarter, the varsity girls looked confident and in command on the court, pressuring the Wolves defensively and taking the time to set up plays on their own end of the court.

"We took control of it early," agreed Ball. "It was nice to see even scoring distribution, we had five girls with six points each."

Livingston, which suited up just seven players for the game, was held to single digits in each of the four quarters and Escalon enjoyed a 23-6 lead at the half, allowing Ball to get all his players in during the game.

"If Amber Anderson had scored, everyone would have been on the board," he noted of having just one player not put the ball in the basket.

The solid win and even scoring was cause for celebration, though, and a little hope that the varsity is finally finding its shooting touch and is ready to roll on to a good streak and make the playoffs.

Players with six points in the Thursday win were French, Missy Cullum, Kelly Colin, Kacey Ball and Brown. Eleven different players got into the scoring column.

The varsity is scheduled to play at Riverbank in a 6:30 p.m. game Thursday, then will be at home to host Hughson on Tuesday, Feb. 10 and then travel to Ripon Christian for a Feb. 12 game.

Ball said he is hoping the girls work out more wins than losses the rest of the way, with playoffs scheduled to begin on Thursday, Feb. 26.

"I think we can make them," he said. "They're starting to play the way we thought they could, we just had to have patience."