Between them, the Escalon varsity and JV basketball girls played six games this week … and just couldn’t put one in the win column. In a tough stretch of Trans-Valley League play, the Lady Cougar squads lost to Ripon Christian, Ripon and Livingston.
The varsity entered the week with hopes of getting a couple of wins to get themselves into playoff position but their opponents had other ideas.
Head coach Joseph Dalpogetti noted that Ripon Christian came into the week as the number two team in league, while Ripon is number three and Livingston is number one.
“We had been blown out by all three of them in round one,” Dalpogetti said of earlier meetings with the opposing teams.
On Tuesday, the girls were at Ripon Christian and lost the Jan. 29 game by a final of 53-40.
“We were tied 11-11 after one and had a huge collapse in the second and got outscored 18-2 in the quarter,” the coach said. “Our offense just went stagnant like it does from time to time.”
They made just a little headway in the third and trailed by 15 points entering the final frame.
“We had a good run in the early part of the fourth and cut it to six but couldn’t quite get over the hump,” Dalpogetti said.
Hannah Boyd had a career high 20 points in the loss, including 16 in the second half.
“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think we would have hung around in the second half,” added Dalpogetti. “Our top three scorers were held to 17 below their season average combined.”
Thursday, the girls were at home to host Ripon and lost 61-41. They were down 14-10 after one and 31-26 at the half, with Ripon hitting a buzzer beater 3 to end the third quarter, up 45-35.
“We turned the ball over quite a bit in the fourth and allowed Ripon to build it up to 20 by the end of the game but we played hard,” Dalpogetti said. “We lost by over 40 points in round one so just the fact the girls could have it at single digits in the fourth shows how well and hard they played.”
Alexa Gomez put in 24 points to lead the Lady Cougars in the game.
Friday, they were back on the road and faced off against the league-leading Lady Wolves.
The game went in the books as a 57-31 loss.
“Annie Winton for Livingston is averaging over 28 points per game and is ranked third in scoring in California,” explained Dalpogetti. “We knew we had to limit her damage and still keep their two big players off the offensive glass. We let them pull away a little at the end of the first and trailed 20-12 and then 30-19 at the half.”
Escalon struggled offensively in the second half, with good looks but little conversion. Dulce Jimenez paced the effort with 12 points.
The girls were scheduled to host Hughson on Tuesday, Feb. 5 for Senior Night with recognition for Alexa Gomez and Sylvia Guevara, then go on the road for their season finale, Thursday at Hilmar.
None of the games were very close for the junior varsity Lady Cougars, as they went 0-for-3 during the week.
They started out on the road at Ripon Christian and ended the game with a 33-12 loss.
“We didn’t really show up to play,” admitted head coach Robbie Leal. “We had just two points in the first quarter.”
Down 25-6 at the half, the JV squad could never get on track. Leal emptied his bench in the first quarter, subbing out the starters to try and get some other combinations on the floor that might work out better.
“We were tentative,” he added. “There’s not a lot to learn from a game like that.”
Thursday, they hosted Ripon and played well early, but the visitors went on a tear that saw them roar out to a 32-7 halftime lead.
Part of the trouble for the JV girls this season, noted Leal, has been the lack of offense and the inability to put the ball in the basket.
“We need a ‘go to’ scorer and we don’t have that,” the coach said. “We’re trying to get some consistency.”
The final was 59-11 in favor of Ripon.
At Livingston on Friday, the JV girls trailed the host squad 9-2 after the first quarter, but then were held scoreless in the second, down 19-2 at the half.
“They came out strong in the third, we weren’t getting back on defense,” Leal said of Livingston putting their foot on the gas and Escalon backing down.
It was 33-6 after three and Livingston ended the game with a 46-10 decision in hand.
The JV girls were slated to play at home on Tuesday, after The Times went to press and go to Hilmar to close out their season on Thursday, Feb. 7.
Leal said both are “winnable games” but will need to see a dedicated effort from the team.