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Tough League Losses For Varsity Basketball Boys
They held their opponents under 60 points in each contest ... but they didn't get into the 50s, so both games went into the loss column for Escalon's varsity boys on the basketball court this week.

The boys hosted Hughson on Tuesday, Jan. 29 and fell in a 56-40 contest. Key to that game was a 25-11 run by the Huskies in the third quarter.

Hughson took a 16-13 lead after one and had a slim lead, 25-21, at the half, but they doubled their score with the huge third quarter, leading 50-32 after three and taking the win.

"It was the same old Achilles heel, we gave them too many easy baskets," coach Martin Louro said. "They weren't pressing us, it was just good, straight up man and we weren't taking care of the ball."

As a result, Hughson got several points on steals and fast breaks, even after Louro took a time out to try and get his team back under control.

"It seems like, every game, there's a time when we lose focus and I don't know what to do about it," Louro said. "If I did, I'd fix it."

To their credit, he added, the team continues to battle hard in each contest and plays tough until the final whistle.

James Harrison and Spencer Franceschetti led the scoring with eight points each, while Mike Martinelli added seven.

Friday, they traveled to Ripon to face an Indians team that has just one loss in league play.

"They're pretty balanced," Louro said.

The Cougars were able to keep it somewhat close, eventually losing a 54-42 decision.

The teams tied, 10-10, in the first quarter and Ripon got on a roll with a 20-6 run in the second to lead 30-16 at the half. Escalon climbed back in it with an 18-12 run in the third, trailing 42-34 entering the final period, but Ripon had a 12-8 edge in that frame to seal the win.

"We're not shooting a large percentage and we're having a hard time scoring over 40 points," Louro said, noting that it's not a recipe for success in the TVL. "Spencer had 11 points, James had 10 and Tim Bacay had seven."

Louro said the team has to keep working hard to address its mistakes and the varsity boys are eager to grab a couple wins over the final two weeks of the season.

"It's a young team, that's not an excuse, that's the reality," Louro said. "We have nine of the 12 kids coming back next year."

With games left against Modesto Christian, Riverbank, Ripon Christian and Hughson, the boys want to add to their win total.

"It's bad habits that are hard to break," Louro said of the troubles plaguing the team with not taking care of the ball and falling into panic mode when something goes wrong. "We're fighting with it. But there's determination, motivation, they feel they can get a couple more wins and they want to."

The varsity boys will host Ripon Christian in the Winter Homecoming on Friday night, Feb. 8 with game time at 8 p.m.