By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Varsity Basketball Boys Eager To Get Season Started
Placeholder Image
Slated to take the court for their first taste of action on Monday night, Nov. 26 in the Foundation game, Escalon's varsity boys are looking to improve on last year's overall record and spent a great deal of time this summer working toward that goal.

"We played 40 games over the summer and practiced twice a week," said head coach Martin Louro, back for a second year at the helm. "We're miles ahead, two weeks in to the season, compared to last year."

While Louro said last year's team was competitive, and in the majority of their games, they had trouble closing out teams, often running out of steam in the fourth quarter.

"That's on me," he said. "We will be in condition this year, ask any of my players, we will not be tired in the fourth quarter."

Louro has some returning seniors with experience, including 6-7 James Harrison.

"He should be able to control the paint this year, he should dominate the inside," Louro said. "Also we have Michael Martinelli, he comes in at 6-0, he had limited playing time last year but he's worked hard over the summer and he's really improved his game."

Senior Nick Aprile will be sidelined at the start of the season with his collarbone injury, suffered in the football finale, but Louro hopes to have him back for the start of the Trans-Valley League campaign.

"He's a big strong athlete on both sides of the ball," Louro said. "Last year I had to use him more as a guard and this year, I have several people capable of handling the ball, I want to be able to free him up to slash and score."

Also back for another year is Tim Bacay, 5-8, who is probably the team's best pure shooter, but had trouble adapting to the American style of play after coming over from Japan, where his father was stationed with the military, to play for Escalon High last season.

"He's worked hard to learn the system," Louro said.

Hopefully, that will translate into more minutes - and more shots - from Bacay this season.

Newcomers include junior Armando Becerra, a 5-10 guard.

"He's a real good athlete, a fiery competitor and he doesn't back down from anybody," said Louro. "He's a competent shooter, a good passer, very aggressive."

Sophomore Spencer Franceschetti, 5-8, moves up from the JV team as well.

"He's a very good shooter and has improved on the defensive end of the floor, we'll be happy to have him with us for thee years," said Louro.

Justin Machado, 5-8, junior is a real quick player that has also improved based on his work ethic this summer and junior Matt Blakely, 5-10, can be used as a swing man. He's a smart player that makes good decisions, said Louro, and is a good shooter. Junior Doyle Nui, 6-3, is coming off a solid sophomore season and should make the transition to the varsity pace.

"He's a real slasher type player with good hands," Louro said.

Also on the roster are junior Justin Gutierrez, 6-1, an athletic player who will pester the seniors to get playing time; Phillip Quiroz, who worked hard to improve steadily over the summer; and sophomore John Segale, 5-10, who is athletic and quick and continues to develop his playing skills.

"So we have about 12 or 13 players, depending on when we get Nick back," said Louro. "I also have one freshman who is definitely starting the year with us and will play at least the first couple of tournaments, then we'll evaluate where he is and see if he needs to stay up with us or go to the JV level."

Brandon Shaw worked with the team all summer and Louro said he was impressed with the play of the incoming freshman then, enough to bring him on board the varsity to start the season.

"I'm pretty deep this year," Louro added. "I can go to the bench more often this year, I believe, and the juniors are really pushing the seniors, they want to take the seniors out in a good, friendly competitive way."

While Louro said his team has improved since last year and is already further ahead than they were at this time a season ago, he said the league remains "ridiculously competitive."

So whether the improved team will lead to an improvement in the win-loss record remains to be seen. But Louro is hopeful.

"I'm pretty confident we're going to win more games," he said. "We were competitive last year, outside of Modesto Christian and one game with Ripon Christian, our games were close, we just couldn't get over the hump and close out the fourth quarter."

The Foundation game Monday night against Central Catholic doesn't count in the standings or power ratings but did give the team a chance to face off with an opponent, not just themselves in practice.

They continue the preseason with a trip to the Bret Harte Tournament next week, Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 6 through Dec. 8.