A busy week for Escalon’s basketball girls saw the varsity squad take three tough losses, but head coach Joseph Dalpogetti said he is proud of the effort and competitiveness shown by his squad.
They started out with a home game Feb. 4 against Ripon Christian, with the final going in the books as a 53-42 loss.
“We led 14-11 after one, down 24-21 at half, up 35-32 heading into the fourth,” Dalpogetti said of the back and forth battle. “We had a good game plan coming into the game. We were able to switch all their screening action, front their posts, and make them have to make plays instead of rely on their size advantage. Morgan Van Elderen for RC is one of the top players in the league and she made plays for herself and her teammates. She finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds.”
Escalon kept up the fight, however, throughout the course of the contest.
“I was proud of our execution and effort, but we went cold in the fourth quarter and had to play the foul game with about two minutes left, which is what led to the double digit margin, but the game was much closer than that.”
Brooke Campbell paced Escalon with 15 points and Hannah Boyd had nine.
Thursday, it was a road game at Ripon, which is tops in the Trans-Valley League.
“They led 21-6 after one and never looked back,” said Dalpogetti. “The final was 59-25. They’re just bigger, faster and stronger than we are and they shot the ball incredibly well to boot.”
Boyd was leading scorer for the Lady Cougars with eight points.
“Ripon played inspired after almost dropping one to last place Riverbank earlier in the week and played like a team preparing for the postseason,” added Dalpogetti.
On Friday, the girls had a home game, with a bruising Livingston squad coming to the EHS gym.
“We lost to Livingston 43-32 despite leading after one, 12-10 and at half, 19-17,” the coach explained. “We were outscored by six in the third and seven in the fourth.”
The visiting Lady Wolves came in with some size and the action was end to end and frenetic for all four quarters.
“It was the most physical high school game I’ve coached,” Dalpogetti said. “Bodies were on the floor more often than not. They wanted to pound the ball inside with a clear size advantage and we had to do whatever it took to keep their bigs out of the paint.”
Boyd finished with 16 points, Ryilee McNulty had seven.
“Brooke, our leading scorer, was only able to play for 16 minutes after battling foul trouble and eventually leaving the game due to injury,” Dalpogetti said, with Campbell going down hard on the floor after a collision late in the fourth.
“I was proud of the effort all week long,” added the coach. “We have definitely played all teams tougher the second round of league. We have focused on getting better each day and competing until the end which I think speaks volumes of the athletes on the team, because, let’s be honest, losing can suck the fun out of it but they have kept their enthusiasm and still enjoy being coached.”
Escalon’s junior varsity girls came up short in their Thursday game at Ripon, after picking up a forfeit win on Tuesday against Ripon Christian.
On the road Thursday, head coach Sam Baez indicated the game was “a lot to a little” and ended up as a lopsided 55-18 loss for the young Lady Cougars.
“They were just bigger but it was tough because we had only lost to them by six points the last time,” the coach pointed out. “We were missing two-footers while they were hitting everything.”
After that tough loss, the JV girls did bounce back, coming away with a satisfying 38-12 win against Livingston on Friday evening. Isabella Jaime had 16 points to lead the team.
“They responded,” Baez said. “Our problem Thursday night was we were like a deer in the headlights but Friday they took some pride, set goals for every quarter, stuck with it, communicated, it was a good win.”