Taking a big lead in their first Trans-Valley League game of the season, the Escalon JV basketball girls had to hang on to get the win. They then found themselves outplayed in their second contest, splitting their games for the week.
At Riverbank on Wednesday, Jan. 3, the JV Lady Cougars were up 10-7 after one quarter, 16-10 at the half and continued to lead after three quarters, up 22-18.
“We started out good in the fourth quarter and built up a 12-point lead,” said coach Robbie Leal.
A furious comeback by the host Riverbank girls made the game much more exciting in the final couple of minutes than it should have been, Leal added.
“In the final two-and-a-half minutes, Riverbank could not miss. They made two 3’s in the fourth quarter, had four lay-ups … they cut it to where we beat them by one point,” explained Leal.
The final was 34-33 in favor of Escalon, the Lady Cougars scoring 12 points in the final frame to Riverbank’s 15.
Hunter Wheeler put in 10 points for Escalon, with eight from Ryilee McNulty and six from Lia Wrought.
“It was a good learning experience, the girls learned that you have to play until the final whistle,” Leal said.
Escalon got back on the court the next night, hosting Ripon in a Thursday, Jan. 4 contest. This time, the outcome was much different as the visiting JV Lady Indians blasted their way past the home team, 68-25.
“The most we can take from that is that we have to get in the gym more,” said Leal. “Their girls are in the gym all summer long and we’re not.”
Illustrating that fact was that one Ripon point guard had 29 points on the night, singlehandedly scoring more than the entire Escalon team.
“One of their players beat us all by herself. This was a real learning experience on all fronts,” Leal agreed.
Wheeler had eight points for Escalon in the loss, Katie Karp added six.
The girls were scheduled to be on the road Tuesday night, Jan. 9 at Ripon Christian for a league game after The Times went to press. They go back on the road for a Thursday, Jan. 11 game at Hughson.
“What they do doesn’t matter,” Leal said of facing off with other TVL squads. “We need to focus on what we have to do to win.”