Winning one of three games in the Columbia Tournament, Escalon’s varsity basketball boys closed out the event on a high note with a big win over Big Valley Christian.
Games were Wednesday, Dec. 27 through Friday, Dec. 29.
“Wednesday we got blasted by Sonora in the first round,” said head coach Martin Louro.
The final was 78-46, with Sonora going on a 20-8 run in the first quarter to set the tone early.
“We’re giving up way too many points,” Louro said. “We’re not lacking in our defense but we also allow too many offensive boards.”
Sonora was able to capitalize and outscore Escalon in every quarter of the contest, enjoying a 38-21 lead at the half. The host Wildcats put up 40 points to Escalon’s 25 in the second half. Steven Grossi had 17 points, Sahil Prasad added 14.
Thursday, the Cougars faced off with Argonaut in the loser’s bracket,
“We played a lot better but still lost by 17 points,” said Louro. “Defensively, we were in the right place, right time and we made it tough for them.”
Argonaut had a 32-17 lead at the half, Escalon made it close in the second half, scoring 29 points to Argonaut’s 31 over the third and fourth quarters, resulting in the 63-46 final.
“We did a pretty good job, this is a high powered offense, they have too many weapons and actually it was a positive note despite the loss,” Louro said of keeping Argonaut under control.
Prasad had 16 points to lead Escalon; Cameron DeWeerd added 11 and Estephan Salcedo put in eight.
Friday, Escalon took part in the seventh place game, battling it out with Big Valley Christian.
“We knew we’d have a chance against Big Valley Christian, they were 8-4 going in,” Louro noted. “We had a pre-game talk about what we needed to do; there were three things, we needed to play hard, play smart and play together. We needed to do all three of those things and we did that.”
The end result was an 85-40 victory for Escalon, starting off with a 16-8 run in the first quarter, adding 27 more points in the second to 18 by Big Valley. The 43-24 halftime lead proved too much for Big Valley to overcome and Escalon kept the pressure on in the second half, outscoring Big Valley 42-16 over the third and fourth quarters.
“We won the correct way,” Louro said of the offense and defense both clicking for the Cougars.
All but one player got on the score sheet in the contest. Salcedo had 15 points on the night to lead the way; Mikey Carroll had 14, with Max Nicholas adding 12. Three players had nine points apiece in the win, Prasad, Grossi and Nic Lattig.
“We were physically better than this team,” added Louro.
The win in the Columbia Tournament was just the second one for Escalon’s varsity in a long preseason campaign that saw them go 2-13.
They open the regular season schedule at home, hosting Riverbank in a 7:30 p.m. contest on Wednesday, Jan. 3.
“That’s usually a dog fight,” Louro said of taking on the Bruins. “We are 2-13 going into league but I still think we can surprise some people.”