Closing out the first half of Trans-Valley League play on a winning note, the Escalon varsity basketball girls defeated Hilmar and Mountain House in action this past week.
They opened up with a 38-34 win at home Tuesday, Jan. 16 against Hilmar.
“We were down 11-5 after one and 19-18 at the half,” explained head coach Joseph Dalpogetti.
Escalon and Hilmar traded points in the third quarter, 11-11, with the Lady Cougars getting the win with a 9-4 scoring edge in the final frame.
“We didn’t take our first lead until there was about one minute left and Shelby McCune made two free throws to put us up by three,” Dalpogetti said. “Brooke Campbell got a rebound on the other end and was fouled and made the first free throw to put us up by four with about three seconds left and Hilmar didn’t even attempt a shot at the buzzer.”
The game was “a great team effort” on the defensive side, added the coach, with Priscilla Nowling leading the way.
“Priscilla did a great job denying Haley Chavez, one of the top players in the league, the ball for the entire second half,” noted Dalpogetti.
McCune paced the team in scoring with 22 points. Sylvia Guevara had five, with Leila Phillips and Daisy Camacho adding four each.
“Thursday we had Mountain House on the road and we won, 38-26,” Dalpogetti said. “We were up 6-5 after one and 14-11 at the half.”
A strong third quarter saw Escalon take a six-point lead into the final frame, up 23-17 over the Lady Mustangs.
“They did cut it to one in the fourth but we responded and went on the final run of the game,” the coach said. “Again it was an excellent effort on the defensive end. They wanted to spread us out and drive and kick and shoot a ton of threes. We were able to contest most of those but they did hit six for over half their points, including two banked ones.”
The difference in the game came at the foul line, with Escalon making half their shots from the charity stripe.
“They picked us up full court all game and we were able to get them to pick up some reaching and blocking fouls,” Dalpogetti explained. “We shot 36 free throws and made 18 of those. Mountain House only attempted 12, making four.”
McCune finished with 23 points; Campbell had six and Guevara chipped in with five.
Escalon improved to 3-3 in league play with the recent wins and are 11-9 overall.
They had their bye on Tuesday and will be home on Thursday, Jan. 25 to open up the second half of TVL action, hosting Riverbank.
This week didn’t go as well as the JV girls were hoping, as they fell in a pair of games.
“We were home against Hilmar on Tuesday and lost, 43-20,” said coach Robbie Leal. “We just weren’t boxing out and one of their players had 12 points just off offensive boards.”
Escalon came out flat, added Leal, and he said the JV girls just weren’t ready to play when the whistle blew to start the contest. The team was also without a couple of players, losing Lia Wrought and Maddy Johnson to injuries.
“They fill up a lot of minutes for us,” Leal said.
Hunter Wheeler had six points and three other girls had four points each in the loss.
Thursday at Mountain House, the JV squad took a 49-28 loss.
“We’re just letting players get by us,” Leal admitted. “They’re fast and we just weren’t sprinting back on defense. They outhustled us.”
Escalon also hurt themselves, taking fouls that put the Lady Mustangs on the free throw line, where they made good on many opportunities.
Katie Karp had 14 points on the night, accounting for half of her team’s offensive production. Wheeler chipped in with eight.
After their bye on Tuesday, the JV girls host Riverbank in a 6 p.m. contest Thursday, Jan. 26 to start the second round of league play.