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Varsity Lady Cougars Win Trio Of Tournament Games
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Escalon’s Macie Vickers splits through the defenders on her way up toward the hoop as teammate Chloe Farley, 20, looks on during a Dec. 1 game against Linden. Marg Jackson/The Times

Coming away with three wins in three games from the tournament they hosted, Escalon’s varsity basketball girls did not take the title. But that’s because the team voted to go into the loser’s bracket so players could attend Friday night’s NorCal football bowl game at Engel Field to support the varsity football team.

“We knew there was going to be a conflict on Friday if we advanced to the third place game or championship so we opted to just move through the loser’s bracket to guarantee ourselves the 3:30 p.m. game on Friday,” said varsity head coach Joseph Dalpogetti. “When I was a younger coach I probably wouldn’t have budged and just said “we are going to play when we play,” but now that I’m older and hopefully wiser I understand it’s about providing the best experience for the kids and that’s just something you don’t want to have to miss out on.”

The football team didn’t disappoint; they won the NorCal bowl game for Division 4-AA and play for a state championship in the division on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Engel Field.

“In return I think the athletes appreciate that and actually work harder because of it,” Dalpogetti said of adjusting to allow the girls to attend the football game, noting his team’s strong play throughout the tournament.

It was the 44th annual Lions Club Tournament, re-named as the Pete Arellano Memorial Tournament after the passing of the longtime EHS teacher and coach. He was also a member of the Lions Club and the Club still sponsors the three-day tournament.

“We played Davis from Modesto in the first round and won 72-52,” Dalpogetti said of kicking off tournament play on Nov. 30. “Sammy Lang, Ayana Cocio, Kelsey Webster and Macie Vickers all had double figures.”

Escalon built up a 20-5 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 36-20 by halftime.

Thursday, they took on Linden in the second round. Linden lost to Johansen on Day 1 and Escalon beat them handily, 73-33, holding them to single digits in each quarter. It was a 25-9 lead after one quarter, 50-18 at the half as the Lady Cougars cruised to the victory.

Vickers paced the effort with 24 points, Analise Silveira had 17 while Webster had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“The final day we flipped some games around to try to be more competitive and we played Argonaut and we won 70-40,” Dalpogetti said, with his team reaching the 70-point plateau in each game.

It was a 23-6 lead after one for Escalon, as they continued their strong play out of the gate. The built up a 42-14 lead at halftime, then outscored Argonaut 28-26 over the final two quarters.

Vickers poured in 17 points and had seven steals, Lang chipped in with 15 points, Webster had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Chloe Farley had 11 points and 13 rebounds.

“Sammy Lang and Macie Vickers were named All-Tournament,” Dalpogetti said.

Johansen faced off with Bret Harte in the championship game and won by a 35-25 decision to take the tournament title.

Earlier in the week, the girls traveled to Patterson for the Foundation Game and clawed out a 36-35 win against the host Lady Tigers.

“We won against an athletic, well coached team,” Dalpogetti said.

Webster had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Vickers had 11 points and 11 rebounds, Yanely Gomez added another 10 rebounds.

“Foundation games don’t count toward final records but it was nice to be able to challenge ourselves nonetheless,” added the coach. “We are officially 4-0.”

The girls were scheduled to play at Pitman in Turlock on Dec. 6, then head up to Jackson for tournament play Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The JV Lady Cougars went 2-1 in the tournament, defeating Waterford and Beyer and losing a close one to Central Catholic, said head coach Sam Baez. Her standout players for the tourney were Lilly Brasil and Sky Anderson.

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Strong on the boards, Lady Cougar Kelsey Webster battles a Linden opponent for the rebound during Thursday night action, Dec. 1, in the Pete Arellano Memorial Tournament. Sofia Brasil, 10, is also in range in case the ball gets loose. Marg Jackson/The Times
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Lining up a shot from the corner is Escalon’s Sammy Lang, who, along with teammate Macie Vickers, was named to the All-Tournament Team as the Lady Cougars went 3-0 in the Pete Arellano Memorial Tournament hosted by the Escalon Lions Club. Marg Jackson/The Times