Tournament action and a slate of preseason games have been keeping Escalon basketball players busy so far in December.
The varsity Cougar boys went on the road and took a tough loss, 48-43, at Calaveras on Tuesday, Dec. 9, outscored 24-14 in the second half.
They were back on the road for the Buhach Colony-Atwater Tournament over the weekend, a tourney that head coach Martin Louro was looking at as a good barometer of where his team is at in the young campaign. The boys fell in the first game on Thursday, Dec. 11 but then came back to win the next two, going 2-1 over the three days of competition.
They lost a 63-50 decision to Roosevelt High School on Thursday, with Chapman Mello pouring in 19 points for the Cougars. On Friday, Dec. 12, they faced off with host school Buhach Colony and earned a 74-63 win, getting hot in the middle frames and outscoring their opponent 47-28 over the second and third quarters.
On Saturday, it was a 72-65 victory over Elliot Christian, the Cougars going to overtime to take the win and outscoring the Elliot Christian squad 10-3 in the extra period. Mello had 22 points and Caleb Hansen added 17, including several key putbacks on offensive rebounds to pace the team.
The Cougar varsity improved to 3-2 overall for the preseason and head next to the Carmel Invitational, Dec. 18 through 20.
For the varsity girls, they were winners on Saturday, Dec. 13 against Galt, 40-35, running out to a 27-11 halftime lead in tourney play. On Friday, they lost a 41-28 contest to Bret Harte in the Linden Tournament, held to single digits in each of the first three quarters, then scoring 12 in the final frame but unable to catch the Bullfrogs.
Escalon’s JV girls took a 45-29 win off the court against Modesto in action on Saturday, Dec. 13 after taking losses in their previous two games, 32-27 to rival Ripon on Friday, Dec. 12 and another close one, 33-31 to Lathrop on Dec. 11.
This week, the girls are scheduled to play at Chavez in Stockton on Wednesday, Dec. 17 with the freshmen at 4 p.m., the JV at 5:30 p.m. and varsity at 7 p.m., then host opponents on Friday, Dec. 19. Freshmen start at 4:15 p.m. against Bear Creek, with Delhi coming in to face the Escalon JV girls at 5:45 p.m. and the varsity at 7:15 p.m.
Both the JV and varsity were also active in the annual Escalon Lions Club Tournament Dec. 3 through 5, with the varsity girls winning their opener on Wednesday and then falling in a couple of tough matches on Thursday and Friday. The JV girls won two out of the three games they played in the tourney, losing only to Sonora.