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League Opening Loss On Road For Varsity Hoop Boys
Senior guard Clayton Ferreira, 11, dribbles around a Riverbank defender in last Friday’s game on the Bruins’ home court. The Cougars outscored RHS in each of the first three quarters, but fell short in the end, losing by a 52-49 decision. Ric McGinnis/The Times

After traveling to Orestimba on Tuesday, the Escalon varsity basketball boys were closer to home, on the road at Riverbank on Friday.

The Tuesday game was a non-league contest and Escalon defeated the host Orestimba team, 60-43. But they fell to the Bruins in TVL action on Friday, 52-49.

At Orestimba, head coach Nate Bartelink said the team “opened up a nice lead” and were in control for the majority of the game.

“We shared the ball and played well,” Bartelink said.

Up by a 17-4 margin after the first quarter, Escalon extended that advantage to 31-10 at the half. The third and fourth quarters were closer, but the Cougar lead was too much for Orestimba to overcome.

Escalon had a 15-13 scoring edge in the third, Orestimba won the final frame by a 20-14 scoring edge.

“I was happy with the effort,” Bartelink said.

The Orestimba team keyed on Brenden Holmes, keeping him under control and allowing him just six points.

Russell Weinbrecht stepped up to pour in 16 points on the night while Dylan Ruiz added 11. Ty Harris had 10 points and nine rebounds in a strong effort, Clayton Ferreira added seven points.

“That gave us a 10-6 preseason record, the best non-league record we’ve had since 2010-2011,” Bartelink said, happy with the double digit victories in the preseason.

They were on the road Friday night, Jan. 10 to open their Trans-Valley League schedule and things started out well, taking a 15-8 lead after one quarter.

Ferreira had three 3’s and Weinbrecht two in the first quarter to account for the scoring.

“They always are tough, we knew it would be a battle,” Bartelink added of facing off with the Bruins.

The team was also without Holmes, who had to sit out the game due to disciplinary reasons.

“We matched their intensity and physicality,” Bartelink said of his team’s effort, with the Cougars leading it 27-20 at the half. They extended the lead to 40-29 after three but it was in the fourth quarter when the Bruins turned the corner and chipped away.

“We knew they would raise the intensity level,” the coach said. “We just couldn’t get anything going offensively and got outscored 23-9 in the fourth quarter.”

The end result was a 52-49 loss, a disappointing game on the road.

“We turned the ball over 30 times in the game,” noted Bartelink, adding that the team has to fix that issue if they want to be competitive in league play.

“It just takes one bad quarter to lose a game, especially on the road,” Bartelink added. “We allowed them to get back in to the game; we need to handle the pressure better. The coaches were disappointed, the players were disappointed but we’ve got 11 more games to get ready for.”

The Cougars host Ripon Christian on Wednesday, and head out to Ripon on Friday.

Weinbrecht had 19 points and nine rebounds, Ferreira had four 3’s for a total of 12 points. Ruiz added 11 points and Colton Panero had five.

For the week, the freshmen got two wins, topping both Orestimba and Riverbank while the JV team took tough losses.