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Senior Night Finale Goes To Modesto Christian
Both players are trying to reach the ball and Escalons Ben Hood finds his path blocked by his Modesto Christian opponent. However, the foul call went against Hood, with the MC player going to the free throw line. Marg Jackson/The Times

One final game in Trans-Valley League play featured the chance to recognize graduating senior players and cheerleaders at Escalon, but the varsity boys fell in the Feb. 12 finale to TVL champion Modesto Christian.

Still, the squad put up a tough effort against a physical, fast Crusader squad that will also look to do some damage in the postseason.

Escalon, meanwhile, fell just short of a home game to open the playoffs, falling to the number nine seed when West Campus upset Capital Christian, forcing the Cougars to go on the road for tonight's opening round. They will take on the number eight seed West Campus team in Sacramento at 7 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 20.

"We played good for a half," Escalon head coach Martin Louro said of the TVL finale. "They didn't play better in the second half; we just didn't play as well."

Modesto Christian outscored Escalon 25-12 in the first quarter and 21-19 in the second to lead it 46-31 at the midway point. But the Cougars managed just 14 total points over the third and fourth quarters while MC scored 40, defeating the host Escalon team by an 86-45 decision.

"We were down by 15 at the half but I thought we played hard, tough and physical," Louro said. "They're just that good and sometimes you just have to tip your cap."

The Crusaders, with their physical style of play, were able to draw plenty of fouls as the Cougars tried to aggressively defend against the offensive onslaught. The MC squad was 28-for-38 from the free throw line on the night. Escalon was 8-for-16.

Alec VonAlvensleben had 17 points and Marvin Guillen had 11 for Escalon in the loss. The game went to a running clock in the fourth quarter, as MC took a 40-point lead with a little over two minutes left.

Going 7-5 in the TVL to finish third behind MC and Riverbank, Escalon stands at 16-11 going into the first round playoff game on the road.

"West Campus was second in the Golden Empire League at 7-3," Louro said. "Watching them on film, it looks like we will be pretty evenly matched. It's always tough to win on the road in the playoffs, which is why we wanted a home game, but we will go give it our best shot."