GIRLS HOOPS

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE -

A tough week for Escalon’s var­sity bas­ket­ball girls saw them fall short against both Hil­mar and Moun­tain House.

They lost at Hil­mar on Tues­day, Jan. 17 by a 45-30 fi­nal.

“We scored 15 in each half,” said head coach Joseph Dal­pogetti. “They scored 20 and 25, re­spec­tively. They’re much big­ger than we are and they sat in a 2-3 zone and dared us to shoot from the out­side.”

The strat­egy worked and Escalon also couldn’t get much past Hil­mar’s tallest player – a six-footer – who helped lift the Yel­low­jack­ets to the win.

“We will have to ex­e­cute bet­ter on draw­ing their cen­ter from the bas­ket to get us some eas­ier looks next time,” Dal­pogetti noted.

Pac­ing the Lady Cougar ef­fort was Shelby McCune with 10 points and Jenelle An­der­son with eight.

“Thurs­day we lost to Moun­tain House 51-44. They play a dif­fer­ent tempo than ev­ery­one else in the TVL, but we are ac­cus­tomed to it be­cause of our De­cem­ber sched­ule against Bay Area schools” added the coach. “We were down 12 at half­time af­ter a bad sec­ond quar­ter.”

But the deficit didn’t get the team down.

“We fought back to cut it to four with four min­utes left but could never get over the hump,” Dal­pogetti said. “The girls played ex­tremely hard, but we had a very rough of­fen­sive week. Shots we had pre­vi­ously been mak­ing just weren’t go­ing in for us.”

An­der­son led all Escalon scor­ers with a 16-point night on the home court. Ha­ley Boyd chipped in with eight and McCune had seven. Moun­tain House main­tained its per­fect mark in league play with the win at Escalon. Ripon and Hil­mar ended the week tied for sec­ond with 4-1 records in the TVL. Escalon will host both those teams – and will have to catch one – in the sec­ond round as they try to nail down the third and fi­nal spot in the play­offs.

The var­sity girls hit the road for their next two, sched­uled to play at River­bank on Thurs­day, Jan. 26 and then go to Ripon Chris­tian for a Tues­day, Jan. 31 con­test.

JU­NIOR VAR­SITY

The JV Lady Cougars were on the road Jan. 17 against Hil­mar in a game that went in the books as a 31-29 loss for the Escalon squad in a game where they sim­ply ran out of time.

“We were faced with a very early in­jury to our shoot­ing guard Alexa Gomez,” said coach Thomas O’Hare.

The loss of Gomez left the team a lit­tle un­nerved but they bat­tled back against a for­mi­da­ble Hil­mar team.

“If we would have had another minute, the Cougar girls would have ral­lied back to vic­tory,” O’Hare pre­dicted. “Within the last minute and 15 sec­onds, the Cougars went on an 11-3 run but just could not close the gap fast enough. They fought hard.”

The good news, though, was that what was thought at first to be a po­ten­tial torn lig­a­ment for Gomez turned out not be quite as se­ri­ous, with a re­cov­ery time pro­jected within a few weeks.

Back on the home court on Thurs­day, the JV girls were locked in another bat­tle, one that at times looked more like an MMA match than a high school bas­ket­ball game – as they hosted Moun­tain House, ul­ti­mately com­ing away with the vic­tory.

“Thurs­day’s game was an ex­am­ple of ev­ery­thing our girls have worked on com­ing to­gether. The be­gin­ning of the game was chaos and an­a­lyz­ing the Moun­tain House JV team,” ex­plained O’Hare. “A lot of the Cougar girls were forced into po­si­tions they are not nor­mally asked to play. Moun­tain House got out to a quick 13-4 lead by the end of the first quar­ter. By half­time the score was 20-14.”

Dur­ing the break, O’Hare said the team spoke about what was hap­pen­ing and how to cor­rect the is­sues.

“Com­ing out of half­time Hunter Wheeler stepped up and took con­trol of the of­fense with 12 points alone in the third quar­ter, as­sisted by Han­nah Boyd tak­ing the lead on de­fense and cre­at­ing turnovers to make the score 32-27,” said O’Hare.

The lead changes con­tin­ued briefly into the fourth quar­ter, with the host Escalon team fi­nally get­ting a lit­tle breath­ing room with some late free throws and tak­ing the win, 45-39.

Wheeler had a sea­son high 18 points in the win, Boyd chipped in with 10 and Mad­die Wall added seven points.

“The JV Cougar girls worked as a unit bet­ter than I had ever seen that night. I am very proud to be their coach and am ex­cited for the re­main­ing games in the sea­son,” O’Hare said. “A great win and in­tense game.”

MARG JACK­SON/THE TIMES

Ju­nior var­sity player Maddy John­son, 33, bat­tles for the re­bound in Thurs­day night home ac­tion against Moun­tain House as team­mate Leila Phillips, 10, looks on. The JV girls took the win.

MARG JACK­SON/THE TIMES

Ha­ley Boyd, 5, sends off the shot from the cor­ner in var­sity ac­tion against Moun­tain House on Jan. 19. The var­sity girls fought hard but fell a lit­tle short in the con­test.

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