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Varsity Boys Put Away Orestimba Hoops Squad
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Roaring out to a 31-9 lead at the half, the varsity Cougar boys kept the pressure on and took a 51-36 victory off the court Monday at Orestimba.

The Dec. 13 contest featured some stingy defense by the Cougars in the first half, limiting host Orestimba to four points in the first quarter. They had managed just one basket in the second quarter until a desperation 3-pointer launched at the buzzer found the mark as the teams went to halftime.

"It was shot from very, very far out, otherwise, they would have had only two points in that quarter," said coach Mike Backovich. "The game was kind of wild."

Orestimba put three juniors, one senior and one sophomore on the floor, a young team, to counter the Cougars. But the more experienced Escalon squad prevailed.

"I thought we played good defense, everybody," Backovich said of the effort. "It was a pretty rough game because they were frustrated, I was real happy with the way our guys kept their composure."

Two players were in double figures for Escalon, paced by 12 points from Steve Gentry. Marc Backovich added 10 points.

"Everyone got a lot of playing time, we started to run our offense better and our defense played well," Backovich said. "The whole group of them played well as a team and I was happy to see the guys play hard."

The teams traded points, 6-6, in the third quarter and Orestimba battled back to hold a 21-14 advantage in the final frame but Escalon easily took the win.

The varsity boys were due to play in the Orestimba Tournament, wrapping up that appearance on Wednesday, Dec. 22. They will take part in the Oakdale Tournament from Monday, Dec. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 30. Two more non-league games await the team after the start of the New Year, then Trans-Valley League action kicks off with a home game against Patterson on Saturday, Jan. 8.