Running their Trans-Valley League record to 4-1, the varsity basketball boys notched a pair of wins this week.
They started out with a road win at Hilmar and wrapped up the week with a Homecoming victory on Friday night against Hughson.
Head coach Martin Louro said Hilmar was the setting on Tuesday night, Jan. 14 and though his team got the victory, it wasn’t easy.
“That’s a dangerous place to play,” he said of Hilmar. “We were definitely better than them, but they can get you if you are not ready to go.”
Escalon took a 13-9 lead after one and improved it to a 28-20 advantage at the half, on the way to an eventual 56-41 win.
“We won every quarter by a little bit,” Louro said, with the visiting Cougars outscoring Hilmar 14-9 in the third and 14-12 in the fourth.
Owen Pangilinan, back after missing a couple of games with an injury, had 14 points on the night, with Stephen Silveira adding 12, with 10 of them coming in the second half. Ben Hood had 10, Thomas Diniz had six and again did a good job handling the ball.
“Then we had Hughson for Homecoming and it was a 20-point win, but it was not an easy win,” Louro said. “We get everybody’s best game, everybody’s best effort.”
Hughson took a 20-13 lead after one quarter but it was nearly all Escalon in the second, the Cougars going on an 18-0 run that covered almost the entire frame. With a 31-20 lead and just 58 second left in the half, Hughson finally got a free throw to fall to make it 31-21, then hit two more free throws and a shot at the buzzer to get to within seven, 32-25 at the half. The host Cougars, after halftime festivities saw the crowning of Lance Davis as the Homecoming King, had a 16-11 scoring edge in the third quarter to lead 48-36 and then capped it off with a solid fourth quarter to earn the 69-49 final.
After a reverse lay-up from Pangilinan with 2:54 to go in the game, Escalon went up 63-43 and Louro pulled the starters to empty his bench and get everyone in the game.
“We had to work for it and it worked out great,” the coach added. “We got the 20-point win but we learned that if we weren’t ready to play, they can get us.”
Pangilinan poured in 27 points, with four 3-pointers, four 2-pointers and going 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
“He did everything we asked him to do,” Louro said of Pangilinan. “Ben Hood has also been solid for us all year long, he’s our leading rebounder, he had 13 points, Thomas Diniz had eight points, did a good job taking care of the basketball for us.”
The varsity boys had a bye Tuesday (Jan. 21) and will be back in action to host the Modesto Christian Crusaders on Friday, Jan. 24.
“Then we start the second round,” Louro said. “We have Ripon next Tuesday at home and if we can sweep them, we put ourselves in good position to make the playoffs.”