Starting off the week on the road, Escalon’s JV basketball boys took a tough 45-43 loss at Calaveras.
The Tuesday, Dec. 5 game saw a tight first quarter, Calaveras leading 11-10, with the Cougars then taking a 20-17 lead at the half. Calaveras regained control with a 14-5 scoring edge in the third and though Escalon made a strong comeback in the fourth, they fell just a little short.
“We had a couple of mental miscues at crucial times,” said head coach Nate Bartelink. “Just some early season things, we’re still learning.”
Kaidence Trejo paced the effort with 16 points, including four three-pointers, with Brenden Holmes scoring 10 and Clayton Ferreira adding six.
The JV boys then went to the Buhach Colony-Atwater Tournament, with games Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursday, they opened up against El Capital out of Merced.
“We were missing four guys, they were at a band concert that night,” Bartelink said of going into the opener with a short bench.
Escalon fell in a 61-45 decision, trailing 11-7 after one quarter, 28-18 at the half.
“They put on a full court trap most of the game, we hadn’t seen that pressure before,” explained Bartelink. “We were playing at a pace we weren’t used to; we had 23 turnovers, we just were not ready for that speed.”
Holmes led the team with 18 points, Dylan Ruiz added 12, all on 3-point shots, and Kaden Christensen chipped in with six points.
Friday the JV boys faced Buhach Colony and lost that game by a 57-39 final.
“They also gave us some full court pressure, we had 24 turnovers,” Bartelink said.
Down 22-11 at the half, the JV boys could never quite catch up.
“We made a pretty good run at the end of the third, into the fourth, cut the lead to 10 points,” the coach noted.
But they couldn’t get any closer and took the loss. Trejo had 11 points, Ferreira seven and Holmes six.
Saturday, the boys salvaged one win in the tournament, defeating Atwater in a hard fought 53-51 contest.
They opened up a lead with a strong 20-4 run in the second quarter, leading it 31-16 at the half. Atwater outscored the Cougars 35-22 in the second half but the JV boys were able to just hang on for the victory.
“We tried to again find ways not to lose instead of playing to win,” Bartelink said. “We had a lot of turnovers late in the game but still it was nice to close out the tournament with a win, end it on a positive note.”
Holmes had 16 points, Ruiz added 12 with eight points from Christensen.
“Kaden didn’t come out the entire second half,” added Bartelink, noting he grabbed some steals and forced some turnovers to help keep his team a couple of points ahead.
“So we are now 3-3 after a couple of weeks,” Bartelink said. “The kids are working hard.”
The boys are scheduled to travel to the Johansen Tournament for games this week, Thursday through Saturday.
Escalon’s youngest Cougar boys had just one game on their schedule this past week, traveling to Calaveras for a Tuesday night contest, Dec. 5. They came away with a 53-27 win, improving to 5-1 on the campaign.
Previously, they defeated Oakdale by a 41-34 final in preseason action. They will also be busy with tournament play this weekend, going to the Delhi Tournament.