Starting out their week on the road against Ripon Christian, the Escalon varsity Lady Cougars basketball squad could not find a way to get past the host Lady Knights.
The final was 49-34 in favor of the host team. Ripon Christian played to a 14-6 lead in the first quarter and went up 21-14 at the half, as Escalon managed just eight points in the second quarter. They did, however, outscore RC in that frame, with the host team putting in seven.
“They came out in a match up zone. Made getting shots difficult for us,” said head coach Joseph Dalpogetti.
Battling in the second half, Escalon fell a few points short in each frame, losing the contest by the 15-point differential.
In the game, Shelby McCune had nine points, Emily McPherrin and Brooke Campbell had eight points apiece.
Another road trip for the squad on Thursday night had a better outcome for the Lady Cougars. They got their long-awaited first Trans-Valley League win of the season by taking down the host Hughson Huskies in a 45-39 victory.
“We were up 14 midway through the second quarter,” noted Dalpogetti. “Shelby picked up her second foul and we pulled her and ended up going into halftime up 27-17.”
Despite having to sit in that second quarter, McCune put in 18 points in the first half.
“They boxed and one her in the second half. We turned the ball over and didn’t do a great job of boxing out and limiting Hughson to one shot per possession,” the coach said. “We allowed them to get back into the game.”
However, the varsity squad was able to take care of the ball and made free throws to seal the game.
McCune had 23 points to lead the Lady Cougars, Priscilla Nowling had seven in the victory.
With both games on the road, the JV Lady Cougars split their league contests for the week.
“Neither game started very well; the Ripon Christian game finished well, so that was good,” head coach Robbie Leal said.
At RC on Tuesday, the young team ended up coming away with a 27-26 win, though they were behind for most of the game.
“We had 11 points going into the fourth quarter, Ripon Christian had 23,” Leal explained. “We scored 16 points in that quarter and held them to three and won it. It was a good comeback.”
Hunter Wheeler had eight points on the night and Katie Karp had seven. Maddie Wall hit two clutch free throws late and a free throw by Karp in the closing seconds put the Escalon JV girls on top for good.
“Most of our points came in the last five minutes of the game,” added Leal.
Though he was pleased that the team got the victory, he urged them to find a way to start the scoring sooner, giving themselves less of a battle on the court.
Thursday, however, they fell short against Hughson, unable to do much against the JV Lady Huskies. The final was Hughson 48, Escalon 15. Ryilee McNulty had five points to lead the team.
“We were back on our heels the entire game and just couldn’t stop them,” Leal admitted. “It was a pretty ugly game.”
The coach, however, told the girls to keep the loss in perspective.
“Move on from it and go to the next one,” he said.
The basketball squads were scheduled to host Hilmar on Tuesday, Jan. 16 after The Times went to press and will be at Mountain House on Thursday, Jan. 18.