Hosting Summerville in non-league play on Tuesday, the Escalon varsity basketball girls came away with a 45-38 victory.
“We gave up 18 points in the first quarter, then scattered 20 the rest of the game,” said head coach Joseph Dalpogetti.
The Lady Cougars did stumble late, but were able to recover and put the game in the win column.
“Up by 10 going into the fourth, we let them tie it, then we pulled away the final two minutes,” Dalpogetti explained.
Sarah Leal paced the varsity squad with 18 points on the night, while Melissa Mullins put in 10 and Jenelle Anderson had eight.
Friday, the team was on the road at Calaveras and took a loss there, 47-35.
“We actually led by eight at half, 23-15,” Dalpogetti said. “Then we got outscored 32-12 in the second half. We got cold and they got hot, they started forcing a faster tempo, and instead of trying to slow it back down we played into that, we need to do a better job controlling the tempo in the future.”
Despite the loss, the Lady Cougars again had two players in double figures, this time with 13 points from Anderson and 11 coming from Lindsay Miranda.
The varsity girls have compiled a record of 7-7 in their preseason contests and will be on the road to open up Trans-Valley League play on Thursday, Jan. 15 at Riverbank.
“Defensively we are better with our rotations and contesting shots,” Dalpogetti said of progress he has seen for the team since the start of preseason play. “Offensively we are being a little more patient, more poised, looking for shots in the context of the offense.”
Dalpogetti added he is looking forward to a competitive game against the host Lady Bruins on Thursday, aiming to break into the win column in league play.
Escalon’s JV girls took down Summerville on the home court Tuesday, defeating the visiting Bears 39-28.
“We were up by five points going into the fourth quarter,” said head coach Andrew Beam. “It was a close game the whole way through, we outscored them 13-7 in the fourth.”
Beam said the teams had played some of the same opponents, and he was anticipating a close contest.
“The girls did a good job with their press,” he noted of his team handling the pressure.
Shelby McCune and Haley Boyd each had 14 points, while Kalee VonAlvensleben added seven in the win.
Friday, with just the JV and varsity scheduled, Beam brought along a couple of players from the freshman team to fill out his roster and all contributed in a 42-15 JV victory.
“Everybody got to play, it was a good team win for us,” he said.
Standout was Shelby McCune – who had the best performance ever by a JV player, 26 points – in the win. VonAlvensleben added nine, while Lexi Wheeler notched five steals and five assists.
The JV girls have gone 9-4 during the preseason, including winning seven of their last eight. They are scheduled to open up TVL play with a game tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m., hosting Mountain House. They will be at Riverbank on Thursday.
“Mountain House is new to our league, they are undefeated so that will be a big test for us,” Beam said.
Making progress with each game, the Escalon freshman girls took the court for just one contest this week, hosting Summerville on Jan. 6.
“They played well and they have improved a lot,” said coach Kacey Cheary. “We were down 20-9 at halftime but we went over some things in the locker room and they played better in the second half.”
The youngest Lady Cougars, in fact, outscored Summerville 20-18 over the final two quarters, but the early lead for the Bears held up in the 38-29 final.
Sophia Rexin had nine points to lead the team, followed by Priscilla Nowling and Emily McPherrin with seven points apiece.
Thursday, the freshmen kick off the slate of three games at Riverbank, tipping off at 4:15 p.m.
Saturday all three girls teams will playing at home against Tokay, freshmen at noon, JV at 3 p.m., varsity at 6 p.m.