After losing by 33 points in the first round of Trans-Valley League action to Riverbank, the Escalon varsity basketball girls did not want a repeat of that outcome. They opened up the second half of the TVL schedule at home, hosting Riverbank on Thursday, Jan. 25.
Taking a 17-10 lead after one quarter, it looked like the varsity girls just might turn the page and get the revenge win.
But the Lady Cougars game fell apart in the second quarter, as Riverbank turned the tables and outscored the host team 19-3 over that eight-minute span to lead 29-20 at the half.
Visions of that earlier 62-29 loss drove his team as they prepared for the Lady Bruins, noted head coach Joseph Dalpogetti.
“We put in time at practice working on a press break to better attack their 2-2-1 full court press,” Dalpogetti explained. “And we talked about how their 2-3 zone was extended and we needed to get the ball to the high post often. We had a much better start this time around.”
In the first round, Riverbank rolled to a 19-0 first quarter lead. This time, it was Escalon taking a 17-10 advantage into the second quarter.
“In the second quarter the wheels came off a bit,” the coach admitted. “Our defensive game plan was to defend the arc, get the long rebounds and take charges when the put their heads down and drove. We didn’t do any of that in the second.”
Escalon ended up giving up six three-pointers to the visiting Lady Bruins, along with one free throw, and were outscored 19-3 to trail by nine points at the half.
“We switched from a 1-2-2 to a 2-3 in the second half to be able to get out to the corners quicker and we chose to run some of our man sets against the zone just to get some better ball and body movement,” Dalpogetti said.
The tactic worked, as Escalon came roaring back to overtake the Lady Bruins with a 22-5 run in the third.
“The turning point of the quarter was Brooke Campbell hitting back-to-back three’s for us, we went from down two to up four, we led 42-34 going into the fourth,” said Dalpogetti said.
The teams traded points over the final frame, each putting in 14 points, as Escalon took a 56-48 victory to open up second half action.
“Shelby (McCune) had no fouls in the first half, she fouled out with 4:30 to go in the game … we didn’t get another field goal the rest of the way,” explained Dalpogetti. “She had 25 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.”
Once she fouled out, though, the Lady Cougars got clutch free throws from Daisy Camacho and Priscilla Nowling, going 5-for-6 down the stretch to stay a few points better than the visiting varsity Lady Bruins.
Nowling had nine points, Campbell and Sylvia Guevara had eight points apiece on the night
“It was an excellent team effort,” Dalpogetti said.
The varsity girls improved to 4-3 in league play with the win, 12-9 overall. They were scheduled to play host to Ripon Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 30 after The Times went to press and will be back on the road for a Thursday night game, Feb. 1, at Ripon.