Second round action in the Trans-Valley League started out on the road this past week for Escalon’s varsity Cougar basketball boys.
Unfortunately, the result was the same that it has been in all of their league games so far; they took a loss. This time, they went to Riverbank for a Friday night contest, Jan. 26, and fell to the host Bruins by a 70-50 decision.
Riverbank took a 16-9 lead in the first quarter and the teams were closer in the second, Escalon putting in 15 points to Riverbank’s 19. That gave the Bruins a 35-24 lead at the half.
“We came out in the third quarter and were able to cut it to four,” Escalon head coach Martin Louro said of getting a fast start and chipping away at the Bruin lead in the second half. “But 90 seconds later, it was back to 12.”
Louro and the Cougars took a time out but just could never get back into the contest, the Riverbank team hitting on all cylinders. They also had the hot hand from beyond the arc.
“They outscored us 26-11 in the third quarter, one of their players had five 3’s in that quarter and they had seven total, so they had 21 points on 3’s in that quarter alone,” Louro explained. “They hit 15 on the night; they just shot the lights out.”
Some of the three-point attempts were contested, said the coach, but not enough. And Riverbank made them pay for that lack of defensive aggressiveness.
“We had four,” Louro said of the Cougars netting their three-point shots. The Cougars did win the final quarter, outscoring Riverbank by a 15-9 margin in that quarter but that push came just a little too late.
“They were on fire,” Louro added of the Bruins. “They were at home, they played well.”
Escalon had two players in double figures on the night, paced by the 12-point effort from Estephan Salcedo and 11 points from Brad DaDalt.
“Kameron DeWeerd came off the bench and scored nine points for us,” said Louro.
Escalon is still looking for the formula to get into the win column.
“We always seem to have one quarter that hurts us,” noted the coach, pointing to the 26-11 run by Riverbank against them in the third quarter on Friday.
The game was the only one of the week for the Cougars, who had a league bye on Tuesday, Jan. 23 before going on the road to start the second round on Friday. The coach said his team has portions of each game they play well; it’s just that their opponents play better more consistently. He is hoping, however, that they will be able to put a full effort together and get a league win soon.
In the first round, the Cougars had a late lead against Ripon Christian but couldn’t hold it. They were scheduled to play the Knights on the road Tuesday, Jan. 30 after The Times went to press. On Friday night, Feb. 2, they will be back on the home court to host Ripon.
“We played them tough at their place,” Louro said of the first round game against the Indians.
Tip off for the varsity contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.