The scoreboard has not been kind to the Escalon Lady Cougars basketball teams, with the varsity and the JV girls both taking a pair of losses in Trans-Valley League play this past week. Neither team has been able to get into a scoring groove, making for some tough contests.
Varsity head coach Joseph Dalpogetti saw his team fall to Ripon in Tuesday action, Jan. 8 on the road, taking a 76-33 loss.
“We were down 15-13 after one, I thought we played well,” the coach said of the early going. “We held Reina Sausedo to two points in the corner, just denying her the ball. Our offense was moving the ball well and finding some open seams to drive and kick.”
Escalon hit a trio of 3-point baskets in that opening frame.
But Sausedo came alive in the second, evading the defense and putting in 10 points against Escalon. The Lady Cougars found themselves down 38-20 at the half.
“The second half didn’t get much better as we were outscored 38-13,” Dalpogetti noted. “They just hit everything and we went cold after the first.”
Dulce Jimenez paced the team with eight points.
Hosting Livingston on Thursday, the varsity girls came up against the top team in league.
“They have been blowing everyone out,” said Dalpogetti. “Their star player Annie Winton is averaging over 24 points per game and over 34 in her last five games.”
The strategy was to deny her the ball but the Lady Cougars couldn’t keep her under wraps.
“She will pull up and shoot from just about anywhere in the half court,” said Dalpogetti. “We got outscored 41-28 in the first half, and 29-3 in the second for a final score of 70-31.”
Leading Escalon were Brooke Campbell and Alexa Gomez with eight points apiece.
“Our offensive struggles have continued as we haven’t cracked 40 points since a 52-45 win over Riverbank on Dec. 20,” Dalpogetti said. “We just have to keep working through this stretch and get better every day. The girls have the right attitude about them. They are upset after each loss, but show up every day determined to get better.”
He added that many of the players are asking to stay late or come in early to work on their game, in hopes of nailing down some more league wins.
“We still have two more games this round and then the entire second round of league to figure it out,” said Dalpogetti. “We’ll be okay.”
The varsity squad was slated to play at Hughson on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and close out the first round with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff time, hosting Hilmar on Thursday, Jan. 17.
Giving up 44 points in each of their games this week, Escalon’s JV Lady Cougars are working hard but can’t quite find an offensive rhythm. They fell in both games, losing 44-15 to Ripon and 44-19 to Livingston.
They were on the road for the Tuesday, Jan.8 game against Ripon and found themselves down in a hurry, trailing 21-2 after the first quarter.
“We played well after that first quarter,” said head coach Robbie Leal. “In the second and third quarters we played very well and games like Ripon are good for us because we can work on some things.”
The coach added that the team is young and is still learning how to battle through contact, play through pressure and find a balance of aggressiveness and smart play.
Bella Jamie had eight points in the loss to Ripon to lead the team.
Hosting Livingston on Thursday, Jan. 10, Leal said the team started out well.
“The first five minutes, we played well but then we just seemed to throw the ball to the other team, fouled them, we ended up down 16-6 after one period,” Leal said.
Livingston had an 8-0 run in the second to lead it 24-6 at the half.
A much better second half for Escalon saw them outscored by just a 20-13 margin over the third and fourth quarters. Still, the game was a 44-19 loss.
Lia Wraught had eight points, Kaylyn Cavanaugh added six.
The girls were scheduled to be at Hughson for a Jan. 15 game and come home to host Hilmar on Jan. 17 with a 6 p.m. tipoff.