Battling back in the fourth quarter, the Escalon JV basketball boys came away with a hard fought win on Jan. 15 and backed that up with a road victory on Friday, improving to 5-1 in Trans-Valley League play.
The boys hosted Hughson on Tuesday and stayed even with the visiting Huskies in the first half. The teams tied 14-14 in the first and 17-17 in the second, knotted at 31-31 at halftime.
Hughson made some adjustments, though, and started to take control of the game in the third quarter, ending that frame with a 50-39 edge. The teams traded points to start the fourth, the Huskies keeping the home team at bay early.
“They were up by 11 with six minutes to go and then we went on a 13-0 run to close out the game,” said coach Brandon Hoover. “We outscored them 22-9 in the fourth.”
Noting that his team’s shots weren’t going in early, he said they never strayed from the game plan and kept working hard.
“We played pretty good defense,” Hoover added. “Hughson is a good team, they’re well coached.”
Leading the way were Logan Webster with 17 points, several of them coming in that pivotal fourth quarter, including a pair of clutch free throws to seal the win. Russell Weinbrecht had 16 points, with some big treys in the final frame, with Ty Harris adding 14 and Ty Bashaw netting 11 in a well-rounded attack.
“Our kids are scrappy, they could have broken teeth and they’re in,” Hoover said of the toughness and go-for-broke mentality of the squad.
Heading out on the road for a Friday night game at Hilmar, the game was a little easier, a 59-40 win for the JV Cougars.
They roared out to a 20-4 advantage in the first quarter and were up 36-20 at the half. A strong third quarter saw the Cougars outscore the host team 13-4, giving them a big enough cushion to withstand a 16-10 run by the Yellowjackets over the final eight minutes.
“Everyone got a lot of playing time,” Hoover said. “Daniel Gonzalez played very good defense, Dillon Watson gave us good minutes and had six rebounds, Justis Dutt had eight points and Russell Weinbrecht had 25 points.”
The JV boys improved to 14-8 overall and 5-1 in league. They had their TVL bye on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and will be on the road at Riverbank to start the second half of league play on Friday, Jan. 25.
“We’re tied for first place, we lost to Ripon Christian,” Hoover said, noting that the Cougars will face the Knights in the second round at Escalon, and look to battle for the TVL title.
Meanwhile, the freshman Cougars continue to have a tough go of it in league action. They lost to Hughson on Tuesday and fought hard on the road against Hilmar, battling in a back and forth contest on Friday before the host Yellowjackets converted on a couple of late free throws to put the game in the win column.