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Varsity Lady Cougars Take Win Over Knights
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Earning a split of their games for the week, Escalon's varsity Lady Cougars fell in a Tuesday night game to Ripon, then rebounded to top Ripon Christian on Thursday.

They went to Ripon for the Jan. 18 game and fell by a 50-24 final.

"We really went in knowing we were playing a good team," said coach Gary Ball. "We didn't execute. I don't mind the losing part, but we just didn't execute."

Ball and assistant coach Steve French agreed that the team wasn't itself that night, playing a lackluster style game. They trailed 14-5 after one quarter and 28-14 at the half and were held to single digits in each frame.

Leading scorer was Kacey Ball with eight points. Sandi French had four.

"They had too much firepower for us," added Ball of the host Ripon team. Escalon did a better job from the free throw line, hitting seven-for-eight but that was little consolation in losing the one-sided match.

Thursday, the girls hosted Ripon Christian and battled it out to take a 51-44 win in the Trans-Valley League contest.

"Defensively, we came out a little flat," Ball said.

Ripon Christian took a slim 16-13 lead after one quarter but Escalon was three points better in the second frame as the teams were knotted at the half, 24-24.

"We climbed back in it," the coach said. "We're battling illness, Kacey's sick, Kat Tavares was sick, Lauren Brown had gotten hurt at Ripon and she wasn't at full strength."

Still, the girls managed to put two players in double figures and get contributions from nine in the scoring column to win the game.

"We settled down and played better in the second half," explained Ball. "Our diamond defense hurt them a little bit."

Troubling, however, was the inconsistency at the free throw line, where the girls hit just 6 of 19 attempts. They could have put the game away much sooner with a stronger effort there.

"I am fit to be tied," admitted Ball. "We practice it and practice it, it's the same ball, the same line, the same net as practice, but when there's a free throw..."

The Lady Cougars did prevail in the game, though, to improve to 2-3 in TVL play. They were without Shannon Krein for a second game against Ripon Christian, also battling illness, and Ball said some other players stepped up to fill in the gap.

"We had really good bench play out of Amber Anderson, also Stephanie Williamson and Stephanie Horton, plus Alyssa Guzman pitched in with five points," noted Ball. "We got 17 bench points from our kids, the bench came in and really saved our game."

Anderson was strong inside and had six points to show for her efforts, along with several rebounds. Guzman tossed in five, Williamson four.

Now 9-6 overall, the girls were slated to host Hilmar in Monday night action, Jan. 24 and will travel to Livingston for a Thursday, Jan. 27 contest.