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Lady Cougars Looking For League Wins
Working to corral the loose ball, Lindsay Miranda of the Escalon varsity girls basketball team works in toward the basket against the larger Ripon Christian defender. Marg Jackson/The Times

In what has been a tough opening stretch for Escalon’s varsity basketball girls, they lost a pair of home contests in Trans-Valley League action this past week.

They hosted Hughson on Tuesday and Ripon Christian on Thursday, falling in both games.

Against Hughson in the Jan. 20 game, it was a 63-39 loss.

“We gave up 25 points in the first quarter and 21 in the second,” said head coach Joseph Dalpogetti of letting the visiting Huskies dictate the pace of the game. “We were down by 30 at halftime.”

Hughson outscored Escalon 25-9 in the first quarter and 21-7 in the second for the 46-16 lead. Escalon did battle back to hold the scoring edge in the second half, with a 14-12 advantage in the third quarter, 9-5 in the fourth.

“We turned the ball over early and often,” Dalpogetti said of digging a hole too deep to climb out of in the game. “They (Hughson) are fast, extremely athletic and they were hitting everything in the first half.”

Despite the big deficit, Dalpogetti said his team did come out with some determination in the second half.

“We worked hard and played better but it was too little, too late,” he said.

Jenelle Anderson paced the varsity girls with 12 points, Sarah Leal had nine and Melissa Mullins chipped in with seven.

Thursday, the Lady Cougars welcomed in Ripon Christian and fought hard, keeping it close in the first half before slowly falling behind and eventually losing a 50-34 decision.

“They were up 15-7 after the first quarter but we made some adjustments and were able to take them out of their offense,” Dalpogetti said of getting back in the game with a 15-10 scoring edge in the second quarter.

That put Escalon down by just three points, 25-22, at the half and gave the varsity girls some hope that they would get their first TVL win.

Ripon Christian, however, had other ideas and made some adjustments of their own at the half, coming back to double up the host Lady Cougars 14-7 in the third quarter to lead it 39-29 after three and then sealed the win with an 11-5 run in the fourth quarter.

“Ripon Christian will be among the top three in the league,” Dalpogetti predicted, noting that Riverbank was the only team to end the week with a perfect mark, 3-0, at the varsity level in league play.

“They outrebounded us by a large margin,” Dalpogetti said of Ripon Christian using their height to their advantage. “They also have a lot of players so they are always fresh, rotating in, we got beat up inside and we just weren’t able to score much in the second half.”

Anderson had 10 points on the night, Leal scored eight and Lindsay Miranda had a strong game, with seven points and several rebounds to her credit.

“She’s a very good rebounder for her size,” Dalpogetti said.

The Lady Cougars ended the week at 0-3 in league, 7-11 overall and were scheduled to be on the road this week, starting with Hilmar on Tuesday, Jan. 27 after The Times went to press. The Lady Yellowjackets entered the contest with the same 0-3 mark as Escalon, with Dalpogetti hoping his team would be able to get the ‘W’ on the road. They will be at Ripon on Thursday, Jan. 29.