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Varsity Basketball Boys Looking For Wins, Answers
Max Nicholas
Driving hard to the basket, Escalons Max Nicholas looks to get around the Amador defender in a home game on Dec. 12. Photo Courtesy Of RJ Jefferson

In what has become an all-too familiar routine for Escalon’s varsity basketball boys, they had some fight early but could not find a way to win in their contests this week.

The squad fell at home in a very competitive contest against Amador and then had a tough go of it in the Carmel Tournament, Thursday through Saturday.

On Tuesday, they lost a 53-46 decision to Amador.

“Estephan Salcedo had 21 points and Steven Grossi had 12,” said head coach Martin Louro. “We’re not getting that third scorer that we need.”

The game was definitely within reach, but it has been difficult for the varsity Cougars to find a winning formula so far this season.

“We took a lead but lost it, then we battled back but ended up losing it by seven,” Louro explained.

Games in the Carmel Tournament began on Thursday and Louro said the tournament is changing, with organizers looking to draw bigger schools.

“Central Catholic was there, Aptos, Antelope out of Sacramento,” said Louro. ‘Five of the eight schools there were really good.”

Escalon opened up on Thursday with Monterey and lost a 69-43 decision.

“They are really good,” the coach said.

Salcedo again was leading scorer for the varsity boys, just hitting double figures with a 10-point effort. Cameron DeWeerd had eight with six points each from Nic Lattig and Mike Carroll.

“We’re having a hard time scoring and we’re having a hard time keeping teams from scoring against us,” Louro pointed out. “That’s not a good combination.”

Friday, the Cougars matched up against Carmel High School, another quality team, said Louro.

“We scored 28 total points and 14 of them were in the first quarter,” he said. “They hit a three in the first, it seemed after the buzzer but they counted it, we were down 22-14 after one and we were hanging in there.”

That gave the coach reason to feel encouraged, hoping for a good second quarter to chip into the lead.

But it didn’t happen.

“It was a shutdown,” he said of the second quarter. “We stopped playing defense and everything got easy for Carmel.”

Outscored 20-4 in that second quarter, Escalon was down 42-18 at the half and it was a 24-6 run by Carmel in the third to put the game out of reach.

“We lost 77-28,” Louro said.

Salcedo and Max Nicholas each had five points in the lopsided loss.

In the seventh place game on Saturday, Escalon faced Buhach, a team they had lost to previously in the Buhach Tournament.

“We had the lead for most of the first quarter,” the coach noted.

Buhach finished that quarter with a little run and took a 20-15 lead, extending it to 38-21 at the half.

Escalon lost by a 70-45 final in that game. They did outscore Buhach over the final eight minutes but the lead was too big to overcome by that time.

“Down five after one, I thought we had a shot,” Louro said.

The squad came home from the tournament with three losses and need to get headed in the right direction quickly, added the coach.

They were scheduled to play Summerville on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and will host Argonaut at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20.

Next week, they go to the Columbia Tournament for games Dec. 27 through 29 and then will have a few days of practice and preparation before jumping into Trans-Valley League play. They open up at home against Riverbank on Wednesday, Jan. 3.

“We’re going to have to really take a look at what’s going on,” Louro said of finding the formula to get some wins on the books. “We’ve only got two weeks to get things right.”