It was a busy, productive week for the JV basketball Cougar boys, winning two and losing one in preseason action.
“We beat two teams convincingly,” said coach Nate Bartelink. “Monday we were home against Amador and we won 55-26.”
The Dec. 14 game saw Escalon take a 16-9 lead after one quarter, then put the game out of reach with a 20-1 run in the second quarter.
“We pulled away and didn’t look back,” Bartelink said. “Amador is down on their talent a little bit.”
Sahil Prasad had 14 points, Estephan Salcedo put in 12 and Lorenzo Martinez rounded out the top three scorers with nine points.
Wednesday on the road at Argonaut, the JV boys battled but came home with a 61-49 loss.
“They were the best team we have seen so far,” noted Bartelink. “It was a rough start, we had a hard time guarding them early.”
Amador had an 18-8 lead after one, 34-14 at the half.
“We switched to a 2-3 zone in the second half,” the coach explained. “We forced them to shoot from the outside and we cut their lead down in the fourth.”
Escalon outscored Amador 35-27 over the final two periods but couldn’t catch the host team.
“We ran out of gas a little bit, it was a good test for us though, we held them to their season low in points,” Bartelink said.
Elliott Mello had 13 points and nine rebounds and was 9-for-12 from the free throw line in the game. Salcedo had eight points, Steven Grossi and Prasad put in seven points apiece.
Wrapping up a busy week, the JV boys hosted Waterford on Friday night, Dec. 18 and toppled the Wildcats by a 73-29 score. Things got ugly early, as Escalon roared out to a 25-4 lead after one, 50-9 at the half.
“Eight of our 10 guys scored, we had a running clock in the fourth quarter,” Bartelink said. “Noah Stime gave us some good minutes off the bench, Thaddeus Stern also came in and worked hard.”
Salcedo paced the team with 21 points, Nic Lattig had 14 points and 13 rebounds. Martinez had 11 points and Mello chipped in nine.
The JV boys are participating this week in the Johansen Tournament and will host their own Cougar Holiday Classic Tournament next week, with games Dec. 28, 29 and 30, kicking off with a 6:30 p.m. game on Dec. 28 against Linden.
Atwater, Buhach Colony, Merced, Weston Ranch, Patterson and Beyer are the other teams coming in for the eight-team tournament.