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Ripon, Riverbank Too Much For Varsity Basketball Girls
0205 Mullins
Varsity Lady Cougar Melissa Mullins, shown here in action against Riverbank on Thursday, had a couple of strong efforts this week on the court but the Escalon girls lost a pair, to Ripon and Riverbank. Ric McGinnis/The Times

Escalon’s varsity girls were on the hardwood for a pair of contests this week, starting out with a narrow 3-point loss to Ripon. Each team had one outstanding quarter in the contest, but Ripon was a little more consistent in taking the Tuesday victory, 40-37.

A 9-8 first quarter lead for the Indians evaporated with a 16-7 run by Escalon in the second, the varsity Lady Cougars taking a 24-16 lead at the half. But Escalon faltered with a four-point third quarter and added just nine more in the fourth while Ripon countered with 14 points in the third to lead it 30-28 after three and sealed the win with 10 points in the final frame.

“Melissa Mullins had 10 points and Claudia Gomez had 13,” coach Joseph Dalpogetti said of his team leaders on the night. “Ripon changes defenses frequently and depending on what they called, that would dictate what offense we would be in, possession to possession. That worked in our favor in the first half, we were up eight.

“Second half they came out full court pressure and erased the deficit within a few minutes. And it became a one possession game either way in the second half.”

Escalon had some opportunities to tie or take the lead late, added Dalpogetti, but wasn’t able to capitalize on their chances.

The schedule didn’t get any easier on Thursday, when Riverbank came to town with its high powered offense and well-rounded game. The visiting Lady Bruins handed Escalon a 48-28 setback as the varsity girls had trouble getting any sustained drives. They were in single digits in every quarter, scoring just 15 points in the first half, and only 13 over the final two quarters. Riverbank, meanwhile, hit 12, 16, nine and 11 points to total their 48 on the night.

“Riverbank is 19-2 for a reason,” Dalpogetti noted. “They have some size and they have some shooters, not to mention their stars (sisters Olivia and Janelle Luu).

“It may have been a 20-point game but I feel like we made them earn it and I’m proud of the effort we demonstrated in both games this week.”

Lindsay Miranda was in double digits for Escalon against the Lady Bruins, hitting 10 points.

The varsity was slated to host Orestimba on Monday (past press time) and go to Hilmar for a Thursday night game with tipoff at about 7:30 p.m.