In a busy first week of Trans-Valley League play, the Escalon JV Cougar basketball team had a game on both ends of the spectrum.
They crushed Riverbank on Tuesday and then themselves were crushed by Ripon on Friday night. Both games were on the road.
In the 63-18 TVL opening victory on Jan. 3, head coach Nate Bartelink said it was “a perfect storm” in Escalon’s favor.
“We got Brad DaDalt back and Riverbank was without its best three players, still off for holiday break, but we played really well,” said Bartelink.
Riverbank schools were still out for the holiday break last week and several players had not returned from trips out of the area with family. Escalon was already back in school when the game occurred.
DaDalt and Frank Leal had 15 points each in the win, each battling under the boards to get some easy putbacks on offensive rebounds.
Escalon had a 13-5 lead after one, and went up 34-11 at the half. A 22-4 edge for the JV Cougars in the third made it 56-15 after three, the host Bruins not able to get much going.
Mikey Carroll was also in double figures for Escalon with 11 points.
“Austin Faria had five points, he had a three-pointer and a lay-up, that was great for him, he has been working really hard,” Bartelink said. “It was good to start the league season with a win but they’ll be ready for us next time.”
Leaving Riverbank with the big win, the JV squad did not fare as well on Friday night. They traveled to Ripon and Bartelink knew going in they were the best team in league.
“We took an 84-21 loss, that’s the biggest defeat I’ve ever been a part of here, it was difficult for the fans, the players and the coaches, especially coming against Ripon,” said Bartelink.
The coach said many of the Ripon players are involved in basketball year-round and that has helped make them the top TVL team.
Carroll had 11 points for Escalon in the loss and the JV team was held to single digits in points in each quarter. They trailed 23-6 after one, 50-10 at the half. Ripon outscored them 34-11 over the final two periods.
“Now we just need to regroup,” admitted Bartelink of putting the lopsided loss behind them. They were scheduled to be at Ripon Christian on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and will be at Hughson on Friday. They will have their first home game of the league campaign on Tuesday, Jan. 17 hosting Hilmar.
“We can make some noise in league, we just have to stick with it,” Bartelink said.
The youngest JV Cougars split their TVL games for the week, going one and one.
They were on the road first for the Tuesday, Jan. 3 game at Riverbank and defeated the Bruins by a 59-50 final.
“In the win Jacob Walden had 12 points and 14 rebounds,” head coach David Anderson said of the top effort in the game.
Friday, they were on the road at Ripon and fell to the young Indians by a 52-33 verdict.
“Against Ripon, Colton Panero played well,” noted Anderson.
The team will be on the road on Thursday at Hughson and then will be home to host Hilmar on Tuesday, Jan. 17.