Hosting Mountain House for their only game of the week on Tuesday, Jan. 26, varsity boys basketball coach Martin Louro summed up the evening succinctly.
“It was a good one,” he said.
The varsity boys got the Trans-Valley League win over the visiting Mustangs, completing a Cougar sweep on the night with the freshman and JV teams also getting victories.
“We won 69-39,” noted Louro. “We finally got that balanced scoring attack, everybody scored except for one player.”
Escalon opened up the night with a 12-6 edge in the first quarter and poured it on with a 22-13 run in the second, leading 34-19 at the break. A 19-9 advantage in the third, 16-11 in the fourth accounted for the final margin of victory.
Trent Avilla paced the varsity with a 14-point night, followed by Sam Lattig with 11 and Blue Capps with 10. Tommy Pangan added nine, Caleb Hansen had eight.
“It was exactly the way you would want it to be,” Louro said of getting production from every player. “That’s how you need it.”
Though the win came by 30 points and saw Mountain House drop to 1-5 through the first round of league play, Louro said the Mustangs couldn’t be taken lightly.
“They’re not a bad team but we played really, really well,” the coach explained. “That’s a big point, we executed, did the right thing.”
The consistent play was a major factor in the victory, the Cougars not letting up when they got a big lead and staying focused for the full four quarters.
“We are better than that team, not necessarily 30 points better,” Louro said, adding that the spot on execution from his players made the difference in putting up the big win.
Mountain House beat Hughson in the first round, while Hughson defeated Riverbank, leaving both the Mustangs and Huskies at 1-5 following the first time through the TVL schedule. Riverbank is at 2-4, Hilmar at 3-3. Escalon closed out first half play at 4-2, while Ripon and Ripon Christian are tied on top of the league standings at 5-1.
“Games have been close every night, all around the league,” Louro added, with many games decided by single digits. “We’re technically in third.”
With a lot of parity in the league, though, Louro noted that his team is an overtime win from being at 3-3, while taking a loss on a half court buzzer beater shot left them one loss away from being at 5-1.
“The record doesn’t indicate how good or bad you are,” the coach added, of the Cougars and other teams in the TVL. “The league is very even, it should be a wild last six games.”
The Cougars were slated to open up the second round at home, hosting Riverbank on Tuesday, Feb. 2 after The Times went to press. They get to stay at home Friday night as well, hosting Ripon on Feb. 5.
“I’ve been telling the guys the same thing I have been telling them all year, this next game is the most important game of the season,” Louro said. “We really are trying to stay focused on one game at a time, not worrying about the outcome, but worrying about our own play. If we play well, we are going to have a chance to win.”
All of Escalon’s basketball teams have had a solid start to the season, with the JV team at 5-1, the freshman and varsity both coming in at 4-2.
“Overall we have had a real good year so far in the TVL, we hope to keep it going,” Louro said.