Hosting the Sierra Timberwolves on Thursday, May 6, the Escalon varsity basketball girls found themselves in a battle.
“It was a great game and big win for the program,” head coach Joseph Dalpogetti said of the 47-45 final in Escalon’s favor. “Brooke Campbell had 15 points, Soleil Gouzenne had eight and Macie Vickers had 12.”
The contest was back and forth all night, with Escalon looking poised to pull away late in the third. But the visitors battled back and the game came down to the final few seconds, as Campbell was fouled with the game knotted at 45-45 and just about six seconds to go.
Free throws had been troublesome for the Lady Cougars during the night but, this time, Campbell calmly sank both to give her team the 47-45 edge.
Sierra had time to bring the ball down and attempted the 3-point shot for the win but fell short, sending the Escalon players into excited hoots and hollers as they celebrated the victory on the court.
“We lost to them the following night, 46-39,” Dalpogetti said of going on the road to face Sierra. “We were down by eight with 2:39 left. After a timeout we went on a 6-0 run to cut it to two with 50 seconds left.”
Looking for some last minute heroics again, this time it didn’t quite go according to plan.
“I called a sixth timeout, not realizing we were out,” Dalpogett admitted. “That’s an automatic technical. The scored three points between the two free throws and the ensuing possession to ice the game with only about 20 seconds left.”
Macie Vickers and Kelsey Webster each had 10 points in the loss.
Earlier, the varsity girls split a series with Ripon Christian, beating them on the road 43-35 behind 17 points from Campbell and eight from Vickers.
“We lost to them the following night a home,” Dalpogetti said. “We shot 19 percent and were still in it until the end of the game. Macie had 13 points.”
It was a productive week for the varsity basketball boys; they went 2-1 and played “pretty well in each” of the games, said head coach Nate Bartelink.
They took a 72-51 win off the court at Linden in a May 4 contest that featured just the varsity squads. The Cougars outscored the Lions 47-25 in the first half to set the tone.
“Linden did not offer much resistance defensively. Brenden Holmes scored a career high 41 points, without playing half of the fourth quarter,” Bartelink said. “He was able to get pretty much whatever we wanted. He did it without making a single three-pointer, which is hard to believe. He could have easily scored 50 on that night and broke whatever the school’s single game scoring record is.”
Russell Weinbrecht scored 13. Dillon Watson scored 11 points. Daniel Gonzalez hit a three pointer.
“It was great to get everyone a lot of playing time and reward their hard work in practice,” added Bartelink.
Then it was a pair of Valley Oak League contests, taking on Sierra of Manteca.
On May 6, the host Timberwolves hung on for a 57-52 victory.
“The game was tight the whole way. We had some careless, unforced turnovers at critical times in the fourth quarter that ultimately were our downfall,” explained Bartelink. “We also missed a lot of makeable shots around the rim that didn’t help. The loss was disappointing, but the effort was great.”
Holmes had 19 points, Jack Anderson added 12 on four treys. Weinbrecht put in eight and Ty Harris added seven points.
Brenden Holmes: 19 points
On May 7, the Cougars hosted Sierra and jumped out to a 19-10 lead in the first, going up 44-30 at the half on the way to a victory, 75-66 over the Timberwolves.
“The guys bounced back from Thursday’s tough loss in a huge way,” Bartelink said. “This was the best I have seen this group perform for an extended period of time. We thoroughly controlled the game for three quarters, extending our lead to 26 points at one point. Unfortunately, we did not finish the game well and give Sierra credit, they kept battling, cutting the lead to six points late in the fourth, but ultimately we were able to hold on.”
Escalon had great balance with four players scoring in double figures and one other with 8 points.
“It was a great performance that I hope we can see more of during the last few weeks of this season,” Bartelink added.
Weinbrecht paced with team with 20 points and Holmes added 19; Harris had 13 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists; Watson scored 10 and Anderson eight.
“Ty Harris absolutely dominated the glass. I’ve never witnessed anything like it as a coach,” explained Bartelink. “He set the tone early and the rest of the team fed off of his effort and energy. He also was guarding Sierra’s best player, making his life difficult. Being able to do all that while also almost having a triple double was amazing. It was inspiring.”
A 16-5 run by Sierra in the fourth quarter made the difference as the Escalon JV Cougars lost a 48-34 decision on May 6.
“The guys played tough for three quarters, but did not finish well. I think fatigue played a factor as some of the guys were playing in back to back games, while also playing in the freshman game so that we could fill rosters at both levels,” said Bartelink. “They played hard, but ultimately ran out of gas.”
Zack Valencia had 10 points in the loss, Ethan Garza six and Ayden Wilson chipped in with five.
It was a bounce back night on May 7 against Sierra as the JV Cougars got the win this time, 44-33. Sierra took an 18-11 lead after one but Escalon outscored them over the final three quarters for the victory.
“After they settled in following a poor defensive start, they played a great game,” Bartelink pointed out. “Zack Valencia played his best game of the season, with 13 points and did a good job rebounding. Great effort and energy from Ben Fletcher and Logan Anderson.”
Fletcher had 15 points, Anderson added nine.
The freshmen had the chance to take the court and got a win against Sierra on May 6. Bartelink said they played well and leaders were Ben Fletcher, Ethan Garza, Jamin Miller and Cameron Dalpogetti.
On May 7, against Sierra, it was a loss for Escalon on the home court.
“They lost a closely contested battle, but they continue to play with great effort and are showing good things on the court,” said Bartelink. “Ethan Garza, Jamin Miller, Cameron Dalpogetti and Angel Castro all played important roles.”