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Varsity Boys Nail Down Pair Of TVL Victories
Doing their part to gain a good seed into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, the varsity basketball boys put two more games in the win column.

They topped Orestimba on the road and then beat Hughson on the Escalon court.

At Orestimba on Tuesday, Feb. 8, it was a 77-50 victory for the Cougars.

"We were up 17-6 and then the last three minutes of the first quarter, they went on a 15-0 run to lead by four at the end of the first quarter," coach Martin Louro noted. "It's been kind of a pattern, we have gotten off to good starts and then it's almost like they take their foot off the gas."

Though he didn't take a time out when Orestimba was on their 15-0 run, Louro did let his team hear about it during the quarter break.

The result was a 22-5 Escalon run in the second quarter, to lead it 39-26 at the half. They kept the tempo upbeat in the second half, outscoring Orestimba 21-11 in the third to put the game out of reach, adding a 17-13 fourth quarter edge.

"We were able to straighten it out in the second quarter and we picked up our defense," Louro said. "I chewed 'em out a little bit ... then we held Orestimba to five points in the second quarter."

Gino Franceschetti hit four 3's on the night and paced the team with 16 points total. Robbie Leal was also in double figures with 12, as were Nate Peterson and Dominic Louro, each with 10 points in the win.

Hosting the Huskies on Friday night, Louro said it was important for the squad to come out focused, and not take the Hughson team lightly. Though Hughson is down a bit this season, the longstanding rivalry always makes for good drama.

"I was afraid we would come out flat," admitted Louro.

But the team was focused, outscoring the Huskies 17-5 in the first quarter and 22-11 in the second for a 39-16 halftime lead.

"I mixed the line-up up, started a few guys that haven't and we made line up changes every four minutes," Louro said.

The switching kept the players on the floor fresh and they handled Hughson, adding quarter leads of 13-11 in the third, 25-6 in the fourth for a 77-33 final.

"Everybody got equal playing time and all 10 players scored," noted Louro.

Leal paced the boys with 19 points on the night. Brandon Shaw broke into double figures with 10, Patrick Mulry also put in 10.

The last two games of the regular season, Feb. 15 and 18, will figure heavily into the postseason for Escalon. Louro said the goal obviously is to win both - Hilmar and Modesto Christian - to secure a higher seed and hopefully a home playoff game in the first round. A home game is still possible, though not as likely, with a split.

Escalon goes in to the final week at 7-3 in league play and Louro said he wants to see the gym packed with Cougar faithful on Friday night for the finale against rival Modesto Christian.

"We need to get everybody there," Louro said. "I want all our people in there so when the MC fans show up the fire marshal turns them away."

The evening will also be Senior Night with recognition for senior players and cheerleaders prior to the contest.