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Third Place Tournament Honors For JV Basketball Boys
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With two wins and a loss, the Escalon JV basketball boys came home with third place honors from the Merced Tournament.

Games kicked off on Tuesday, Dec. 28 and continued Dec. 29 and 30.

"Tuesday we opened up against Golden Valley and we took a 67-56 win," said coach Nate Bartelink. "We were down at the half by five points, they outscored us 21-6 in the second quarter."

But the JV Cougars then caught fire in the third and kept up the hectic pace in the fourth, scoring 45 points over the final two periods to take the win.

"Our offense woke up in the second half," agreed Bartelink.

Keys were the double digit production from Brian Gregorio, 18 points, and Ryan Bartelink, 15 points including four 3's. Also contributing in a big way were Marvin Guillen and Phillip 'Flip' Kimble, each coming off the bench with 13 points.

Ten of Guillen's 13 points came in the second half, all of Kimble's were in the second half to spark the team.

On Wednesday, the boys lost a 72-44 decision to powerful Buhach Colony.

"They put on full court pressure and we had too many turnovers," Bartelink said of the difference in the game.

Bartelink and Jonathan David had 10 points apiece in the loss, Guillen added seven.

"They're a pretty solid team," Bartelink said of Buhach Colony. "They gave a lot of people fits."

In the third place contest on Thursday, Escalon took on new Modesto school Gregori High and came up with a 57-45 win.

"We were up 17-6 after one quarter and we just nurtured that lead," said Bartelink. "Brian Gregorio had 23 points and 16 rebounds, he had his way inside."

Bartelink and Alec Von Alvensleben added 10 points each as the JV boys took third place and improved their overall record to 9-5. They were scheduled to play one last preseason contest on Monday, Jan. 3 after The Times went to press, traveling to Ceres to take on Central Valley along with their freshmen and varsity counterparts.

The freshmen, JV and varsity squads all begin Trans-Valley League play on Friday, traveling to Riverbank for the league opener. Freshmen play at 4:30 p.m., JV at 6 p.m. and varsity at 7:30 p.m.