Escalon’s varsity boys and girls basketball teams both came away with wins when they started their seasons with the traditional Foundation Game on Monday, Nov. 19.
This week, the girls are hosting their annual tournament while the boys will play a handful of contests.
Head coach Joseph Dalpogetti said his varsity Lady Cougars crafted a 49-33 win on the road against Linden in the Foundation Game.
“It was a slow start for both teams,” noted Dalpogetti. “Our volleyball team had an extended season so we haven’t had a lot of practices at full strength. And one of our returning players has been out for a month, Sylvia Guevara; hopefully she’ll be cleared this week.”
The volleyball team playing well into November and participating in the NorCals forced some line up juggling and Dalpogetti said seven underclassmen have either practiced with or been part of scrimmages with the varsity so far this season.
As far as the road game against Linden, the varsity girls found themselves down 25-19 at the half.
“We were playing at a slow pace and not being aggressive against their press. At halftime we emphasized getting out and running in transition to beat their zone back down the floor and be more aggressive against their 2-2-1 full court press,” Dalpogetti explained. “Between the middle of the third and beginning of the fourth we went on a 20-0 run.”
Key to that run was the half-court trap by Escalon that forced a number of turnovers.
“We ended up winning 49-33 but enjoyed a 20-point lead for much of the second half,” Dalpogetti said. “We hit eight 3’s as a team and every player but one scored.”
Dulce Jimenez paced the team with 19 points including four 3’s while Brooke Campbell notched 10 points with two 3’s.
Starting on Wednesday, Nov. 28 the girls teams, JV and varsity, will host the Pete Arellano Memorial Tournament, in conjunction with the Escalon Lions Club, with games Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Ripon Christian, Bret Harte, Central Catholic, Summerville, Amador, Millennium, Johansen and Escalon are in the varsity bracket, with the Lady Cougars opening up with an 8 p.m. game on Nov. 28 vs. Johansen. Games start at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday with Bret Harte and Ripon Christian tipping off the varsity bracket. Championship game will be at 8 p.m. Friday.
For the JV girls, with Robbie Leal returning for a second season as head coach, they will open the tournament on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., taking on Waterford. Other JV teams in the tourney are Amador, Johansen, Central Catholic, Ripon Christian, Beyer and Riverbank. Championship game will be 8 p.m. Friday; the JV plays in the old gym on the EHS campus, varsity games are in the new gym.
Earning a 75-57 win at home to start the season, Escalon’s varsity basketball boys defeated Linden in the Foundation Game, using a high-scoring second half to put the Lions away.
The Cougars had a 17-9 lead after one quarter and maintained a slight edge, 30-25, at the half.
“We were working hard but missing some guys from the football team still,” said head coach Nate Bartelink. “There are a lot of things we can improve upon but for the first game, it was good to get out and see where we’re at.”
Coming out strong from the halftime break, Escalon put 20 points on the board compared to 14 for Linden and Escalon sealed the win with a 25-18 run in the final frame.
“Kameron DeWeerd had 23 points, 11 rebounds and seven steals, almost a triple double,” Bartelink said. “Freshman Russell Weinbrecht had 22 points and nine rebounds, he had four 3’s.”
Also hitting double figures in the game was Miguel Marmol.
“He had a quiet 10, he played well,” added Bartelink.
Tuesday, all three Cougar squads were scheduled to host Bret Harte, after The Times went to press, with the freshmen, JV and varsity all in action. Saturday, the teams will be at home again, this time hosting Oakdale with freshmen at 10 a.m., JV at 11:30 a.m. and the varsity rounding out the day at 1 p.m.
With football season now over, the varsity squad will welcome players to the basketball court. One of those that expected to make the transition was Kaden Christensen, but an appendectomy on Saturday – the day after football ended – and the discovery that he suffered a broken hand in Friday night’s contest as well, will keep the junior sidelined.
Also starting the season hampered by injury is Dylan Ruiz, who suffered a broken finger, but is expected to return to the line up soon.