A resurgent Riverbank team – including a pair of transfers from Beyer – put away Escalon in the Trans-Valley League opener for both teams on Wednesday, Jan. 3. The Lady Cougars also fell the next night at home, taking a loss to visiting Ripon, opening up the TVL campaign at 0-2.
On Wednesday, the girls were on the road at Riverbank and lost by a 62-29 final.
“We were down 19-0 in the first quarter,” said head coach Joseph Dalpogetti. “We had that deer caught in the headlights look to start the game.”
Dalpogetti said Riverbank returned their top two players from a year ago and, with the addition of the players from Beyer, proved to be a formidable foe.
Escalon outscored Riverbank 13-12 in the second quarter but were outscored 31-16 over the final two quarters, the host Lady Bruins easily putting the game in the win column.
“They are one of the top teams in league and we let them jump all over us,” Dalpogetti explained. “We made a turnover, they hit a three, we made a turnover, they got a lay-up.”
Escalon also didn’t do themselves any favors by putting Riverbank on the line 10 times in the first quarter alone.
Shelby McCune paced the Escalon effort with 10 points. Emily McPherrin and Sylvia Guevara added six points each. On the opposite side of the court, Riverbank’s three leading scorers had 18, 15 and 15 points.
“Thursday night, we had Ripon at home and we lost 53-43,” Dalpogetti said.
The game was much closer than the Riverbank contest and the coach said he did see some good things from his team. That was only after another slow start, however, the Lady Cougars trailing 19-6 after the first eight minutes of play.
“It was a very poor start by us but we clawed back and cut it to four points in the third quarter,” Dalpogetti explained. “Then they put the press back on and we didn’t handle it well for about 90 seconds, and it was back up to an 11-point lead.”
The varsity squad managed to keep the score within striking distance but every run they made was answered by Ripon.
“We could just never get over the hump,” the coach noted. “They got 24 points from their best player.”
For Escalon, McCune had her best game of the season, doing all she could to try and get the team in the win column.
“She left it all on the court,” agreed Dalpogetti. “She had 20 points and led the team in rebounds as well.”
Guevara chipped in with seven and Brooke Campbell had five points as well as making her presence known on the court.
“She was able to control the tempo and had her best game in a while,” Dalpogetti said. “I felt the girls played extremely hard and I was pleased with their effort. They battled, found a way to get back in the game.”
As disappointing as it was to open up league with two losses, Dalpogetti said the team has plenty of time to get back on track.
“They were frustrated but if they can channel that energy, bring it to practice and every game, we should be okay,” Dalpogetti said. “We just have to handle our business.”
The girls are on the road for a pair this week; they were scheduled to be at Ripon Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 9 after The Times went to press and go to Hughson on Thursday, Jan. 11.
“It’s a gift and a curse,” the coach said of being on the road, noting that the team doesn’t get that extra bonding time they have when the share team dinners prior to each home game – but they might actually come out a bit more focused when they don’t have the socializing time before the tip off.
This week will be an important one, as the girls aim for some league wins.
They will be at home next Tuesday, Jan. 16 to host Hilmar.
“If we can finish the first round on a good note, we have more home games in the second round,” Dalpogetti said.