A tightly contested battle with Ripon Christian started the week for Escalon’s varsity basketball boys but they still couldn’t get in the win column. The second of their Trans-Valley League contests during the week saw the Cougars hosting Hughson and falling to the visiting Huskies.
“We just can’t quite get over the hump,” head coach Martin Louro admitted of still looking for that elusive first league win.
Tuesday night, Jan. 9 the boys faced off with Ripon Christian and fell by just nine points, losing a 64-55 decision.
“It was a game that could have gone either way,” Louro added. “It just didn’t go our way.”
Ripon Christian had a 14-12 lead after one quarter and the teams were knotted, 25-25, at the half. RC was just a few points better than Escalon in the third quarter, 18-15 and then sealed the win with a 21-15 run over the Cougars in the final frame.
Sahil Prasad had 20 points in the loss, while Estephan Salcedo had 13 points and Nic Lattig chipped in with eight.
Hosing Hughson in a Friday night game, Jan. 12, Louro said the Huskies came in with three seniors that are third year varsity players and two of the three accounted for 49 total points between them.
Once again, the game was close through the first half but the Huskies pulled away and took a 71-49 victory off the Cougars’ court.
In the first quarter, Hughson put in 14 points to Escalon’s 10 and the Cougars outscored the Huskies 19-18 in the second. That left the visitors with a slim 32-29 halftime lead and the game still well within reach for the home team.
In the third quarter, though, Hughson came out firing on all cylinders and put some distance between themselves and the Cougars, running to a 21-8 scoring edge in that frame. Hughson also outscored Escalon 18-12 in the final frame to account for the margin of victory.
“They shot 12 free throws in the second half and made nine of them, they had 27 for the game,” Louro noted. “We only shot 10 for the game.”
Prasad had 15 points, Salcedo added 14 and Brad DaDalt scored eight.
The team was scheduled to be on the road at Hilmar on Tuesday, Jan. 16 and then host Mountain House for their Friday night, Jan. 19 Winter Homecoming festivities.
“That will close out the first round,” Louro said of Friday night’s game. Hopefully, he said, the Cougars come in to that game with a win in hand from their Tuesday road game at Hilmar and can get a couple of late first round victories to start the second half on a positive note.
“Mountain House is scrappy, a little wild,” the coach said of their Homecoming game opponent. “They beat Hilmar by one point but that’s their only win.”
If the Cougars can get everyone on the same page, they should have a good chance to give the home crowd a win on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.