It was a split of contest for the young Lady Cougars, with the JV girls winning at home and falling on the road. They were 34-29 winners over Ripon Christian on Tuesday night, Jan. 30.
“It was a game where everyone was able to get in,” said head coach Robbie Leal. “We were up 14-12 at halftime.”
Leal said the team talk at the break focused on what both teams were capable of – the coach noting that his team knew Ripon Christian could do if they got on a roll – but he also reminded his JV Cougars that they can also play a strong game.
“We were up 26-17 at the end of three quarters,” Leal said of making a run in the third, outscoring the visitors by a 12-5 margin in that frame.
That allowed the coach to make sure all his players got on the court and though Ripon Christian did get the game down to single digits, Escalon was able to hang on for the win.
The JV squad shot just two free throws in the game and didn’t make either, but they had enough production from the floor to take the win.
“Katie Karp had 14 points, she definitely was the leading factor in the game,” Leal added.
No other player was in double figures on the night for Escalon.
Unfortunately, the Thursday game on the road against Ripon on Feb. 1 didn’t have the same outcome.
“We managed to score in every quarter, at least,” Leal said, finding a positive note in the lopsided loss. “It was a bad shooting night and we were under a lot of pressure.”
Ripon poured it on, with 38 points in the first half on the way to a 54-8 win.
One of Escalon’s goals going in was to shut down a player that had hurt them in their first round match-up.
“We ran a box and one and we closed her off,” Leal said, but noted that the rest of the Ripon team stepped up and they got plenty of production elsewhere.
Ryilee McNulty had four points for Escalon in the loss.
Also frustrating for Escalon was the fact that Ripon continued to pressure and fire off 3-point attempts with a 45-point lead late in the game.
The JV girls will look to put that contest behind them with a full slate this week. They were scheduled to host Hughson on Monday, after The Times went to press. They travel to Hilmar on Thursday, Feb. 8 for a 6 p.m. game and then close out the season at home, playing Mountain House on Friday, Feb. 9.