Var­sity, JV Cougar Hoop Boys Look­ing To Im­prove

Escalon Times - - SPORTS - By MARG JACK­SON mjack­son@escalon­times.com

A loss by four points in over­time, a win on the road in reg­u­la­tion – both the Escalon var­sity bas­ket­ball games went down to the wire for the boys this week, as they gained a split in Trans-Val­ley League play.

Tues­day at home, they lost in over­time to Hil­mar, 53-49.

“We lost to a real good Hil­mar team and it was de­fen­sive bat­tle,” ex­plained head coach Martin Louro. “They’re real big, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-8, across the front line.”

Escalon utilized a strat­egy where they made it hard on the Hil­mar guards to get in­side and, though fall­ing be­hind the visi­tors early, bat­tled back to make it a game that took more than four quar­ters to de­ter­mine a win­ner.

Louro pointed to the de­fen­sive ef­fort of Estephan Sal­cedo, put on Hil­mar’s top shooter. Sal­cedo held him to a sin­gle bas­ket in the first quar­ter, no bas­kets in the sec­ond, one bas­ket and two free throws in the third quar­ter and a bas­ket and three free throws in the fourth quar­ter. He also hit a bas­ket and had four free throws in the over­time pe­riod, but Sal­cedo’s ef­forts kept him con­tained and well be­low his sea­son av­er­age in points.

“We gave our­selves ev­ery op­por­tu­nity, the guys are play­ing hard and I am happy with where we are, they have bought in,” ex­plained Louro of the team find­ing its way. “We are giv­ing our­selves a chance ev­ery night, putting a re­spectable prod­uct on the court.”

Tommy Pan­gan had 27 points on the night and Sal­cedo chipped in with nine.

“Tommy had four three’s, hit 11-of-13 free throws and hit two two’s,” Louro added.

Hil­mar had a 13-4 lead af­ter one, Escalon re­bounded to take an 18-16 lead at the half. The Cougars had 17 points over the third and fourth quar­ters; Hil­mar had 19 as the teams ended reg­u­la­tion tied at 45-45. The vis­it­ing Yel­low­jack­ets put in eight points in the over­time pe­riod and Escalon just four, Hil­mar tak­ing the vic­tory.

Pan­gan hit three clutch free throws af­ter be­ing fouled on an at­tempt from out­side the arc that sent the game into OT.

Fri­day, the Cougars trav­eled to Moun­tain House and dug them­selves a big hole in the open­ing frame, but used a huge scor­ing edge in the sec­ond half to get a 69-64 win.

“I think schools look at our record and come in with some con­fi­dence, they were hit­ting ev­ery shot in the first quar­ter,” Louro said of Moun­tain House roar­ing to a 23-12 lead in the first eight min­utes.

The Mus­tangs had a 1312 edge in the sec­ond to lead it at the half, 36-24.

“They had five three’s in the first quar­ter alone, I think we were shell­shocked,” ad­mit­ted Louro. “But we didn’t quit.”

A 21-13 third quar­ter run saw Escalon en­ter the fi­nal frame down just 49-45 and they poured in 24 points to the host team’s 15 in the last quar­ter to nail down the win.

“We took the lead with three or four min­utes to play, the lead changed a few times af­ter that,” said Louro.

Pan­gan had 28 points to lead the team, Sal­cedo had 17 and Steven Grossi added eight in the win.

“I can’t say enough about Tommy, at 5-foot-8 he is one of our bet­ter re­bound­ers, he has al­ways been a good scorer, he’s just play­ing un­be­liev­able bas­ket­ball right now,” Louro said.

Escalon went 2-4 the first time through league and start sec­ond round ac­tion with their Home­com­ing game on Fri­day night, host­ing River­bank in a 7:30 p.m. con­test.

JU­NIOR VAR­SITY

It was another tough week for the JV boys, as they fell in both their games. They played a solid three quar­ters at Hil­mar on Tues­day but were outscored 18-2 in the fourth quar­ter and then 11-4 in the ex­tra frame, los­ing 5144 in over­time.

“The wheels fell off in the fourth quar­ter,” head coach Nate Bartelink said of tak­ing a 38-22 lead into the fi­nal pe­riod but end­ing reg­u­la­tion tied at 40-40. “Ev­ery­thing went wrong that could have, we had lots of turnovers, we couldn’t get stops … it was a tough one to swal­low, the kids worked hard but we made too many mis­takes.”

Lucca Du­tra had 11 points, Mikey Car­roll added nine and Brad DaDalt had seven in the team’s third over­time game in a row.

Fri­day, they were on the road at Moun­tain House and lost a 57-35 de­ci­sion.

“We just played poorly,” ad­mit­ted Bartelink. “Too many men­tal and phys­i­cal mis­takes, again not get­ting the stops, poor ex­e­cu­tion, maybe just try­ing to do too much.”

Escalon trailed 15-7 af­ter one, 32-15 at the half and 37-20 af­ter three. They had their best quar­ter at the end of the game, scor­ing 15 over the fi­nal eight min­utes, but Moun­tain House coun­tered with 20 points.

DaDalt had 15 points on the night, Du­tra had seven. The JV boys ended the first round at 2-4 and had a bye on Tues­day, get­ting some ex­tra time to pre­pare for Fri­day’s Home­com­ing con­test.

“This will be a test of their char­ac­ter, we need to work hard in prac­tice, take a breath, fo­cus on some things,” Bartelink said. “But we have to re­mem­ber it’s a game, it should be fun.”

FRESH­MEN

Head coach Dave An­der­son said his young Cougars won Tues­day’s home con­test against Hil­mar.

“Colton Panero and Austin Terra played well,” An­der­son said. “We lost a tough one against Moun­tain House, 38 to 32.”

Though that Fri­day road game was a loss, An­der­son said it was a good game de­fen­sively, and Ja­cob Walden had dou­ble digit re­bounds.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF RJ JEF­FER­SON

Go­ing up above the crowd, Blue Capps, 55, gets a hand on the pass at­tempt to break up the Hil­mar play dur­ing a Jan. 17 home game. Escalon fell to the vis­it­ing Yel­l­low­jack­ets.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF RJ JEF­FER­SON

Cougar Estephan Sal­cedo, 20, bat­tles his way through a pair of Hil­mar play­ers in Tues­day night ac­tion on the home court. Escalon came up short in over­time.

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