Just one game was on the schedule for Escalon’s basketball girls this past week, meeting up with Ripon Christian in action on the home court on Thursday, Jan. 3.
A slow start for the varsity Lady Cougars saw them forced to play catch up throughout the contest and though they cut the lead to four points late in the game, they couldn’t quite complete the comeback. The Lady Knights earned the Trans-Valley League win by a final of 48-30.
Down 15-3 after one quarter, it looked like it was going to be a long afternoon of basketball for the home team.
“We won the middle two quarters, 22-17, before being outscored in the fourth,” said head coach Joseph Dalpogetti. “We got off to an incredibly slow start but cut it to four late in the game and thought we had a chance to steal it after playing poorly.”
The visitors held on for the win, though, finishing on a strong run.
“Sometimes when you exhaust so much energy playing catch up for three-quarters of the game you just run out of gas and that’s what happened to us,” Dalpogetti said. “Hats off to RC, they hit open shots, made us play inside for our lack of size, and Morgan Van Elderen is one of the best players in the league and she let that be known with her dominating performance and triple double.”
Leading the way for Escalon was Alexa Gomez, hitting double figures with 13 points.
“We are now on a five-game losing streak going back to the Tracy Tournament which brings us to 8-8 overall and 1-1 in TVL,” the coach added. “We have Ripon and Livingston this week, two of the top teams in the TVL.”
The girls were scheduled to be at Ripon on Tuesday, Jan. 8 and will play host to Livingston on Thursday, Jan. 10 with a 7:30 p.m. start time.
It was a back and forth contest at the JV level on Thursday, with visiting Ripon Christian ultimately prevailing in a 30-27 decision.
“We had a lead in the first quarter, started out playing a lot better than we have been,” explained head coach Robbie Leal. “In the second quarter, we just weren’t sure how to play with the lead; we don’t get it that often.”
Ripon Christian was just a few points better in that second quarter and took a 17-15 lead into the half.
“The second half was just a battle,” noted Leal. “And we had some foul trouble.”
Trailing 23-19 after three, Escalon worked hard to try and pull even but the visitors withstood the comeback attempt and held on for the three-point victory.
Madison Biedermann hit a pair of three’s for Escalon and paced the team with 14 points on the day. Isabella Jaime added six points.
“It was a good game for us,” Leal added. “A good loss because we can learn from it.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier, however, with the JV girls slated to play at Ripon on Tuesday, Jan. 8 after The Times went to press and then hosting Livingston in a 6 p.m. contest on Thursday, Jan. 10.
“We need to play our best, do everything we can to get a ‘W’,” Leal said.