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Playoff Road Trip Ends In Cougar Loss
Varsity Basketball
Shown at a home game earlier this season, Escalon varsity head coach Martin Louro, at left, discusses strategy with the team. The varsity boys had a short-lived run in the playoffs, falling at Summerville on Wednesday night, Feb. 24 in opening round action. Marg Jackson/The Times


Escalon made it to the playoffs but couldn’t get past a tough Summerville squad on Wednesday, falling in the opening round of the basketball playoffs. Final score was Summerville 68, Escalon 54.

“It was exactly what we expected, we had a bunch of film on them, we knew what they were going to do, they did it well and we just couldn’t quite stop them,” said head coach Martin Louro. “We started out well, took a 13-6 lead, but then they went on an 11-0 run.”

That made it a 17-13 Summerville lead after one quarter and they kept that 4-point scoring edge in the second, putting up 19 points to Escalon’s 15, the host Bears with a 36-28 lead at the break.

“We were down eight at the half, playing pretty well,” Louro said of his team.

But third quarter troubles, including a fourth foul that forced the coach to sit starter Caleb Hansen and a bad ankle roll that knocked starter Garrett Nebe out of the game had a negative effect on the visiting Cougars.

“Nebe went down, we were able to have Trevor (Weinbrecht) and Blue (Capps) come in off the bench and we were able to cut into the lead,” Louro said. “But one thing we knew, they (Summerville) crashed the glass really hard, we knew if we let them get a lot of second shots we were going to be in trouble. They were able to get quite a lot of second shots; that was probably the difference.”

Escalon did have the scoring edge in the third, 22-19, to trim the lead to five entering the final frame.

“We scored the first two points of the fourth to cut it to three points, I felt we had the momentum,” Louro said.

An opportunity at the free throw line to cut the lead to one, though, saw both Cougar shots miss the mark and then Hansen was called for his fifth foul early in the fourth, fouling out.

“That’s a big loss, he had 12 points at the time, and he’s one of our better rebounders from the guard spot,” Louro said.

After Escalon failed to cut the lead to one and without Hansen, Summerville grabbed the momentum back and hit a 3, going up by six and then a loose ball at the other end was gobbled up by a diving Summerville player, starting a fast break that ended in a good layup and an 8-point Bears lead.

“We went down by 8, you could see that took the wind out of our sails,” admitted Louro. “They outscored us 13-4 in the fourth quarter.”

The host team seized the opportunity and claimed the first round victory. Louro said it was definitely a tough loss, especially considering that elsewhere in the bracket, the 13th seeded San Juan team took down number 4 Mesa Verde and if Escalon had beaten Summerville, 12 seed Escalon would have hosted Mesa Verde in a Friday night game in the Cougars gym.

“It is what it is,” Louro said.

Sam Lattig was leading scorer for the Cougars with 16 points in the loss, Tommy Pangan had 13 and Hansen added 12, the trio combining for 41 of Escalon’s 54 total points.

Overall, the Cougars were 12-16 on the season with a 6-9 run in preseason play, a 6-6 showing for third place in the Trans-Valley League and 0-1 in the playoffs.