The varsity Lady Cougars traveled to the Tracy Lions Club basketball tournament the week between Christmas and New Year and had a tough time getting points on the board and wins in the book.
“It’s a 16-team tournament guaranteeing you four games against solid competition from mostly local schools, but there are a handful from other areas and out of state,” said head coach Joseph Dalpogetti. “We have been playing in the West Coast Jamboree for years and this is our second year in this tournament. We try to play some programs that we won’t normally play, and we want to be pushed by good competition prior to league.”
However, the tournament didn’t play out as well as the coach and players hoped.
“We may have gotten more that we bargained for this year,” admitted Dalpogetti. “We went 0-4 in the tournament.”
Wednesday, Dec. 26, the varsity girls lost to Patterson, 41-17.
“We were down 21-3 at the half after Patterson scored at the buzzer,” Dalpogetti said.” Our defense was playing solid, but our offense could not connect on open looks that we have been hitting for a few weeks. We just gave Patterson too many opportunities in transition.”
More of the same in the second half, as Escalon managed just 14 points over the third and fourth quarters.
Leading scorer was Hannah Boyd with five.
Thursday, the girls took a 59-24 loss to East Union.
“We scored 12 in the first quarter but could only double that output for the next three quarters combined,” the coach noted. “Again, we just could not connect on shots we are used to hitting. We talked about affecting the game in other ways and not allowing missed shots to affect effort but after two days of the same easy misses, it did.”
Alexa Gomez had a strong game with 14 points to lead Escalon.
On Friday, the girls found themselves in a rematch with Tokay, a team they had beaten on Dec. 8 to take third place in the Linden Tournament, winning that contest by a 48-30 final. This time, Tokay had the upper hand, defeating Escalon 42-34.
“The offensive woes continued again,” Dalpogetti said. “We had a short burst in the fourth to cut into a 15-point deficit but we ran out of gas.”
Leading scorers were Boyd and Brooke Campbell, each putting in nine points.
Closing out the tournament on Saturday, the varsity girls battled but fell just a little short in a 36-31 loss to Rio Americano.
“We finally had a solid offensive output in the first quarter and scored 20 and led by seven,” said the coach. “We then proceeded to go ice cold once again and only scored 11 the rest of the way. We easily left 20-plus points out there in layups, putbacks and free throws.”
Leading scorers in the finale were Gomez and Campbell with nine points apiece.
“We wanted to play some teams that are a little bigger, faster, and stronger than we are used to, and I think we achieved that goal, just not with the desired outcomes,” Dalpogetti said. “We can blame it on the four days off prior to the tournament, or the 9:30 a.m. tips every day, but the reality is we didn’t get the job done when we had the opportunities.”
With practices resuming this week, the Lady Cougars will also get back to Trans-Valley League play, hosting Ripon Christian at home on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 2:30 p.m.