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Season Ends For Varsity Hoop Girls
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Escalon's trip to the girls basketball playoffs was a short-lived event, bounced out by Bret Harte in the first round on Tuesday night, Feb. 24.

The host Bullfrogs jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the first quarter and ran away from the visiting Lady Cougars, 60-28.

"They are a better team than us but they're not 30 points better," head coach Gary Ball noted. "Their early pressure pretty much did us in and they shot extremely well. We weren't giving up lay-ups, they were just shooting very well."

Escalon, on the other hand, wasn't hitting much from the floor, held to single digits in three of four quarters. Bret Harte took a 30-9 lead at the half and were solidly in command the entire game.

The Lady Cougars managed 11 points in the fourth quarter, the first time in the game they broke into double digits. Eight players did get into the scoring column, paced by six points from Alyssa Guzman, five each from Sandi French and Lyndsey Johnson.

Ball said the team knew Bret Harte would press them, but knowing it and reacting to it proved to be two different things.

"Once that press hit them, they were struggling and just didn't respond very well," Ball admitted. "The pressure didn't surprise me, we just had trouble finding a way to break it."

The girls finished the season with a 6-8 mark in Trans-Valley League play, 9-15 overall. Ball said he had hoped for a better effort in the postseason, but is optimistic for the coming year.

"Things snowballed," he said of losing at Bret Harte. "You start to think too much and then you don't play well."

Only three seniors will leave the team and with four sophomores on the roster this season, those players already have a year of varsity experience to bring to the court next year. And several players from the JV squad will make the move as well, providing what Ball hopes will be a good base of players to work with. Typically, players meet for some workouts and attend camps during the summer and Ball said that should help provide a little extra edge.

"If they just keep working hard, we should be just as good if not better," Ball said.