At a tournament where they usually get at least one win, the trip to the Buhach Tournament didn’t go well for Escalon’s varsity basketball boys.
In fact, they started off the week with a loss on the road at Calaveras and then couldn’t get in the win column in their three tourney games either, going 0-for-4 during the week.
“It was a rough week for Cougar basketball,” admitted head coach Martin Louro. “We were in the games and there was some bright news, those three or four minutes at a time when we execute, we look really good.”
The down side of that, the coach added, is that the team can quickly go from looking good to looking bad when they get out of their rhythm.
“We have the preseason to figure it out,” Louro said of getting all players on the same page. “Communication has been an issue on the floor and it’s hurting us right now.”
Escalon opened up with a 70-53 loss at Calaveras on Dec. 5.
“Calaveras beat us pretty good but I was proud of the effort, we battled and battled, I wasn’t disappointed,” said Louro.
Estephan Salcedo had 17 points, Sahil Prasad added 13 and Cameron DeWeerd chipped in with eight.
At the Buhach Colony-Atwater Round Robin Tournament, Louro said his team had a chance in all three games but could not find the right formula to put one in the win column.
“We started with a 53-51 loss to Atwater and we had tremendous opportunities throughout,” he explained. “In crunch time right now, we’re not performing. We’re very careless with the ball; we are averaging over 20 turnovers.”
Salcedo had 14 points, Prasad 11 and DeWeerd seven in the opener.
“Offensive rebounds and turnovers are our Achilles heel right now,” the coach added.
Friday’s game two in the tourney saw the varsity squad take a 77-59 loss to Buhach.
“It was a lot closer than the final score, they went on a little run at the end,” Louro said.
Again it was Salcedo leading the way, this time the top scorer on both teams, putting in 22 points. Prasad had 11. Buhach had four players in double figures.
On Saturday in their final game, the Cougars had to go without Salcedo, injured in a freak accident.
“He was chasing down a ball and his hand went through the concession stand window, he ended up with stitches, it was a real scary thing,” Louro said.
The prognosis is good for Salcedo to return to the team soon, but the incident was a bit unnerving for the team.
They did battle Livingston in the last game, coming up a point short, 51-50.
“We were down six at the half and we actually took the lead in the fourth quarter, 50-46 but we left their best shooter twice in the last minute and he burned us,” Louro said. “We had three turnovers and gave up five offensive rebounds in the last 50 seconds.”
Prasad had 14 points, with 11 from Nic Lattig, nine each from Brad DaDalt and Steven Grossi.
“When we’re focused, we actually look pretty good,” the coach summarized, noting that the team needs to bring that focus to the game for the full four quarters. “I’m still pretty optimistic.”
The team heads out this week for their annual trip to the Carmel Invitational, Thursday through Saturday.