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Varsity Girls Win Pair To Even League Mark
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Two wins went on the books for Escalon's varsity Lady Cougars in basketball action during the week, the squad upending Hughson easily, then fighting past Ripon.

They hosted Hughson on Tuesday, Feb. 10 and took an easy 48-26 win off the court. Running out to a 14-8 lead in the first quarter, the Lady Cougars upped the edge to 29-14 at the half and never looked back in taking their easiest victory of the season.

"The Hughson game was a game we knew we could win if we just executed," said coach Gary Ball. "We had to take care of their big player, Jen Hobby, we tried to deny her the ball and we were successful."

Ball said the team had been working on executing their offensive patterns and were able to run some of them effectively against the Hughson defense.

"We got going on offense real early," he explained. "Lauren Brown hit our first couple of shots to start us off."

Defensively, the girls went into a half-court trap and forced some turnovers, adding to the offensive production for the night.

"We put some points on the board and that's good for us," said Ball.

Kacey Ball led the team with a 10-point effort but was the only player in double figures. Sandi French had eight points, Missy Cullum scored seven.

Thursday, the girls were on the road at Ripon and escaped with a two-point win, edging the Indians 38-36.

The teams were knotted 10-10 after one quarter, Ripon took a 20-18 lead at the half.

"If we were going to make the playoffs, we had to win and it's still not guaranteed," Ball admitted.

The Lady Cougars did their part to try and insure some post-season action by winning both games this week. It may not be enough, but Ball was pleased to see the wins coming for his varsity team.

"I don't know if there was ever more than a four-point lead, we were down by a couple most of the way," Ball added.

Key to the win was the defense of Lauren Brown, who guarded Danielle Wells.

"She did a wonderful job, held her to seven points," said Ball. "Lauren had the best game of her life, she did a wonderful job on defense and hit a couple buckets down the stretch, some really big shots."

Up by four points with a minute to go, Escalon saw Ripon come back with some free throws to cut the lead to two.

"They called a time out, missed a baseline shot and that was about it," he said.

Kacey Ball paced the girls with 12 points and seven steals, Brown and Cullum each had eight points and French put in six, including the go-ahead bucket at the end.

The pair of wins brought the varsity girls even in league play, their record at 6-6 with two games to go.

They were scheduled to host Ripon Christian in Tuesday night action, after The Times went to press, and will be on the court for the regular season finale on Thursday night. Hosting Hilmar that night, the evening will also feature a tribute to the senior girls closing out their high school careers with the team. Tip off time for the varsity is 7:30 p.m.