By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Second Place In Tourney Play - Solid Steps In Right Direction For Varsity Basketball Boys
Placeholder Image
After one practice with football players minus their cleats and with their sneakers, Escalon's varsity boys basketball team took the court on the road Tuesday at Calaveras.

"You can only do so much in a day," head coach Martin Louro said, noting that it was nice to finally get the football players back on the basketball court, but the team needs more time to practice together. Still, from the Tuesday loss at Calaveras to an overtime battle in the championship game of the Atwater-Buhach Tournament, the team made some great strides this week.

"We just didn't play well together," Louro said of the Tuesday game against the host Calaveras squad. "It was a 63-51 loss, we couldn't have stopped an eighth grade girls team Tuesday night."

Alec VonAlvensleben, fresh off the gridiron, poured in 12 points to lead the team and Phillip Kimble was right behind with 10. Owen Pangilinan scored nine points on the night and Brian Gregorio had seven.

"We took a couple of steps back," Louro said of the Tuesday performance. "But then we took about 10 steps forward very quickly."

The Cougars went 2-2 for the week and played tough in the tournament later in the week.

They opened play with Big Valley Christian on Thursday, after the chance for a second full team practice on Wednesday. They came away with the win, but had trouble getting going in the first half.

"It was a tale of two halves," explained Louro. "We were up by two at halftime."

At the break, Louro said he had a few words for the team and questioned where his guys were. The question was answered in the second half and in every other game of the tourney.

"My guys showed up, they played with a different intensity level, it was like night and day, they flipped a switch," Louro said. "We held them (Big Valley) to 10 points in the second half and won 51-29."

VonAlvensleben had 15 points, while Matt Silveira and Stephen Silveira each added eight points. It was also a game where everyone got some time on the court and contributed to the victory.

Friday against Atwater, the team played well again, "better than the second half of the day before," said Louro. "It was fun to watch, fun to coach."

Escalon defeated Atwater by a 59-56 final, holding off their determined opponent after leading by 10 at the half.

Atwater actually took the lead late, 56-52, but Escalon held them scoreless over the last couple of minutes and came away with the win.

VonAlvensleben scored 21 points, Gregorio added 13 and Pangilinan chipped in with six.

"We just started clicking," Louro said. "We felt good going into the championship game on Saturday, we played Buhach."

The back and forth contest saw several lead changes, a late trey by Buhach to tie it and a missed opportunity at the buzzer for Escalon, sending the game into overtime.

Louro said the Cougars also missed multiple free throws, which would have provided the difference in taking the game in regulation, ultimately losing by a 78-73 decision in overtime.

"We feel like we can play so much better, we still have a lot of room to grow," the coach noted.

Leading the Cougars was VonAlvensleben, 22 points, with other solid scoring efforts from Matt Silveira, 15; Pangilinan, 13; Gregorio, nine. VonAlvensleben and Matt Silveira were named to the All Tournament Team.

The split of games lifted Escalon to 2-3 overall. They will be on the home court Friday, Dec. 14 to take on Argonaut.