Making the most of their one game this week, Escalon’s JV basketball boys put another win on the books.
They were on the road to open the second half of the Trans-Valley League schedule, playing at Riverbank on Friday, Jan. 25.
After a low scoring first quarter, Escalon had a 9-8 lead. They opened up a 27-22 advantage by halftime but just couldn’t seem to put much distance between themselves and the host JV Bruins.
“It was close at half,” agreed head coach Brandon Hoover. “We missed a lot of lay-ups, a lot of open shots. It’s a lot more difficult to shoot on the road.”
It was also Homecoming for Riverbank on Friday, so a large crowd was on hand for the contest, putting some added pressure on the JV Cougars.
“We played very good defense,” said Hoover. “Ty Harris and Ty Bashaw led us defensively, Ty Bashaw had 11 rebounds and Ty Harris guarded their best player and did a good job shutting him down.”
The first time the teams met, earlier this season in Escalon, the JV Cougars came away with a 29-point victory.
“Riverbank came ready to play,” Hoover said of Friday’s game.
This time, it was a 53-39 final for the Cougars. A 12-9 run for Escalon in the third quarter put them up 39-31 entering the fourth quarter and they ended up with the 14-point win.
“Russell Weinbrecht had 20 points, including four 3’s and Logan Webster had 12 points,” the coach said.
The win lifted Escalon to 6-1 in Trans-Valley League play, giving them sole possession of first place. Heading into this week, Ripon Christian and Hughson each had two league losses and Ripon had three.
The JV boys were scheduled to host Ripon Christian on Tuesday, Jan. 29 after The Times went to press and play at Ripon on Thursday. On Friday, Feb. 1, they will be back on the home court, hosting Livingston.
“We have come together so well,” Hoover said. “With only eight guys, we have needed people to be smart and not get into foul trouble.”
He also pointed to a strong preseason schedule, playing against larger schools, as being crucial in helping the team’s development.
“Credit Nate (Athletic Director and varsity boys head coach Nate Bartelink) with that schedule, it has been very beneficial,” Hoover said. “I’m so proud of the way they have gelled, they have willed their way to some wins and I give these kids credit, they compete to the end. We don’t have a lot of true basketball players but we have guys that compete.”
For the youngest Cougars, they faced off with a very strong Riverbank squad and fell in the TVL contest by a 67-35 decision. Matthew Silva paced the freshman boys with a 21-point night. Two players, Connor Lambeth and Aiden Burk, each had four points in the loss.