By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Trio Of Victories For Varsity Basketball Boys
BB graphic

It was a hectic week, but ultimately a successful one, as the Escalon varsity boys basketball team put three wins on the books.

The Cougars topped Summerville, Calaveras and Franklin of Stockton, improving to a 4-2 so far for the preseason campaign.

On Monday, Dec. 6, the varsity boys beat Summerville on the road, 64-49.

“It was our first game with four football players as they joined us without having any practices. We didn’t perform like I would’ve hoped, but it is slightly understandable that we didn’t play great as a team. It is difficult trying to integrate four new players with 10 others that have been practicing together for six weeks,” explained head coach Nate Bartelink. “After trailing 12-8 after the first quarter, we steadily pulled away by winning each of the next three quarters. For the game, 30 of Summerville’s 49 points came from extra possessions as a result of our turnovers and their second chance points, which came from our inability to secure defensive rebounds. Those two stats have been a big focus of our coaching staff as we feel confident in our ability to beat all teams when we aren’t giving them extra possessions.”

Jack Anderson paced the Cougars with 22 points, with five three-pointers. DeSean Owens filled the stat sheet with 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Russell Weinbrecht contributed 10 points and six rebounds.

On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the Cougars hosted Calaveras and defeated the visitors by a 64-57 decision in overtime.

“Coming in, we knew we’d have to play better than how we did against Summerville in order to beat Calaveras. They are always well coached and we know they’d have one of the most talented players that we’d see all season long, Bartelink said. “The game plan was to make sure their best player had to work extremely hard to get his points and make their other players beat us. DeSean Owens, sophomore Ben Fletcher and Logan Anderson all took their turns at guarding that particular player on Calaveras, but it was a complete team effort in following the defensive gameplan.”

Escalon maintained a small lead throughout most of the game, but Calaveras was able to take a lead late.

“After Russ took a massive charge, in what I believe is the biggest play for our team this season, with a minute left in the game, the score was tied with a few possessions left. We missed our opportunity to go ahead and Calaveras shot a three with under five seconds left. The shot was missed, but we failed to secure the defensive rebound,” Bartelink said. “We were called for a foul with under a second to go as Calaveras had a shot attempt just under the basket as the buzzer went off. The refs said that Calaveras would get two free throws with no time on the clock so we all had to watch and hope they missed the free throws. The basketball gods were on our side on that particular night as both free throws were missed, giving us another opportunity in overtime.”

Bartelink said he told his team in the huddle, prior to overtime, to not “waste this extra life” that was given to them, courtesy of the missed free throws.

“Our guys seized the moment as we won the overtime 10-3 in a very satisfying early season victory,” the coach added. “Ultimately it was our defense that won the game for us. We held Calaveras’ best player to 14 points, which was 10 points below his season average.”

Leading the Cougars was Weinbrecht, who had 31 points and 10 rebounds, shooting 17 from 22 from the free throw line. Owens had 14 points and six boards. Jack Anderson contributed eight points, while sophomore Donovan Rozevink chipped in with seven points in his second game of the season.

It was another overtime game, and a victory on the road Friday, Dec. 10 as Escalon beat Franklin of Stockton, 65-56.

“Prior to Friday, we were able to get two practices in with the new players that joined us on Monday to begin the process of getting everyone on the same page,” said Bartelink. “We didn’t start out the game against Franklin with the same defensive effort that we showed against Calaveras, as Franklin led 19-15 after the first quarter. As the game moved along, our defense settled in, but Franklin’s scrappy defense kept us from finding the usual quantity of three point attempts that we are accustomed to.”

Escalon’s ability to shoot the three is a big part of what they do, the coach said, but in this game they only had 14 three-point attempts, making five.

“We had to find other ways to score and that ended up being at the free-throw line,” Bartelink noted. “We stayed aggressive and got in the bonus early, leading to 40 free throws. We missed more than we would’ve like, making 28, but we definitely made them when it counted.”

With a three-point lead, the Cougars gave up another offensive rebound on Franklin’s last possession, allowing them to make a three-pointer with four seconds left.

“We couldn’t get off a quality look and the game went to overtime for the second game in a row; third so far this season. We dominated overtime 15-6,” Bartelink explained. “In OT, we didn’t turn the ball over, didn’t give up any offensive rebounds and made all 10 of our free throw attempts; Russ and Jack took it upon themselves to score all 15 of the points in overtime. It was nice to win a road game, in an unfamiliar gym, while not playing well. We showed some grit in adverse circumstances.”

Weinbrecht poured in 36 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, while shooting 16 for 18 from the line. He also continues to take at least one charge per game, showing how much he has grown during his time in the program.

“He is really figuring out how to use his size and free throw shooting ability to his advantage. For any casual fan out there, I’d encourage you to get to some of our home games and watch Russell play because he won’t be here forever,” Bartelink suggested.

Jack Anderson continued to play well, while scoring 18 points and Cam Ruiz chipped in with five points, while positively contributing in other areas that don’t always show up in the box score.

“We wrapped up the week going 3-0, moving our overall record to 4-2. Even though we haven’t played our best for four quarters, we have seen flashes. Now it’s a matter of getting our recent additions to mesh with the guys that have been here all season,” said Bartelink. “We have a lot of talent and depth. I’m confident we will begin to play better for larger stretches of the games. We have a good understanding of what makes us successful. Now we need to find that level more consistently.”

Road games were due this week at Grace Davis and Bret Harte; while the basketball boys are scheduled for home games on Thursday, Dec. 16 hosting Tokay and Friday, Dec. 17 hosting Central Valley.



With a current record of 3-3, Escalon’s JV boys were winners of just one out of three this past week. They opened the week with a win against Summerville but then fell to both Calaveras and Franklin. Head coach for the JV team this year is Dave Anderson.

Leading the freshmen, in his first season at the helm, is Steve Largent. His team improved to 4-2 overall with wins against Calaveras and Franklin after opening up the week with a loss to Summerville.

They fell to the Bears 34-27, but had a strong bounce back against Calaveras on Dec. 7, crafting a 65-42 victory.

“We had great energy and flew around on defense and ran the floor well on offense,” said Largent. “We had four kids score double digit points which really spells success for our team moving forward.”

Dominic Arauza had 17 points, followed by Ryan Murphy with 14, Preston Berhorst with 13 and Daniel Gonzalez with 10.

Friday night was another solid effort from the freshmen, topping Franklin in the road game, 59-37. Gonzalez had 21 points while Ian Burk added 10 and Nathan Belletto “had a tough seven points,” according to coach Largent.