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Senior Girls Celebrate Final Home Game With Win
On the home court for a pair of games in Trans-Valley League play this week, the Escalon varsity girls fell to Ripon Christian but got past Riverbank to split their contests.

They hosted Ripon Christian on Monday, Feb. 8 and lost by a final of 42-26.

"Once again a tight game throughout the first half. We were as hot a shooting team in the first quarter as we have been all year," said coach Rick Mury. "We led 7-0 and 13-2 before the quarter ended with a three by RC to make it 13-5."

Unfortunately although the good shots continued during the second quarter, Mury noted, they stopped falling.

"At least ten points worth of baskets went into and bounced out of the basket," he said. "We finished the quarter with just one basket and RC got hot and put up 13 points of their own."

Escalon trailed at the half, but just by three points. Ripon Christian seized the momentum they had in the second quarter and ran with it, though, while Escalon's shots still refused to fall.

Ripon Christian outscored the host Lady Cougars 11-4 in the third and 14-7 in fourth for the win.

"It is unfortunate we took a lot of shots and they were open good shots and they were on target. At least 16 to 20 points went in and came back out of the basket," Mury explained. "It was a much closer game than the final score indicates. The girls played very well and deserved a win in this game, but things just did not go their way."

Shay Archer was leading scorer with 11 points, followed by Anne Bacay with five, Annie Gallego with four, Autumn Andersen and Caitlin Brooks with two each, and one point apiece from Breanna Silveira and Stefany Anserlian.

Back on the home court on Thursday, the Lady Cougars honored their senior players in the home finale before taking on the visiting Riverbank squad. The girls fought through a tough Lady Bruin team and came away with a hard fought 31-28 win.

"This was a tough game. In addition to still being without Elysha Bergwerff we lost Annie Gallego for the day due to illness," Mury said. "Hopefully she will be back ... she is the glue that keeps our team on track."

Gallego is called on for scoring, tough defense and running the court.

"Without her we get a little wild and sometimes off track," said Mury. "That was the case in this game. Our defense has been strong for the most part all year, staying in the paint and making the other team beat us from the outside. That did not happen in this game. We wandered all over the court chasing the ball."

The girls also had a hard time getting on track offensively. As opposed to the RC game, where they had good looks and solid shots, they had trouble against Riverbank getting the offense in gear.

Despite all that seeming to work against them, Mury said it was a game in which his players were determined to come out with the win.

"What did happen, though, was a will to win that went beyond our lack of control on offense and defense. In both the first and second quarters we were down four points late in the quarter and scored the last four points to leave the game tied," he said.

The teams were knotted at 7-7 after one and 13-13 at the half.

"We went out and scored the first ten points of third quarter, but unfortunately let them score the last seven," Mury said of the game staying tight. "In the fourth quarter is when the team just willed themselves to a win. Every time the Bruins scored to close the gap to one or two points our girls scored to push the lead out of reach.

"That desire to win came especially from Shay Archer who scored more than half our points. It was not until there were just seconds to go that Caitlin Brooks hit a free throw to put the game out of reach."

Archer had 16 points to lead the varsity girls in the win, with a 3-pointer, four field goals and a 5-for-7 showing from the line. Scoring four points each were Silveira, Brooks and Hannah Yarborough, with three from Bacay.

The girls wrap up their season on the road, playing Thursday at Ripon in the season finale.