By DAVE CAMPBELL
RIPON — On paper, Escalon should not have even been on the court with Ripon on Friday night.
But games are not played on paper.
The Cougars, losers of 14 of 15 games to start the season, fought to a two-point lead after the first quarter before the Indians rallied in the second and pulled away in the second half for a 60-46 Trans-Valley League boys basketball win.
“We figured they would come out and really shoot well,” Ripon coach Rod Wright said. “The question was how well would they do. We are a notoriously slow-starting team right now and it took us a while to get going. They kept making the 3s which kept them in it and we kept missing the layups which kept them in it.
“Fortunately, Troy (Brogan) had a good night. Kyle Sisk got in trouble early so that didn’t help us because there goes a lot of our extra steals and activity. Overall, it was one of those grinder games against a TVL rival and our kids need to realize that every game as defending TVL champion we will have a target on our back.”
Brogan led the Indians with 19 points and 10 rebounds and had eight points behind two 3-pointers in the second quarter that saw the Indians (1-0 TVL, 10-6) start the period with a 9-1 run and never trail again.
“It seems like recently we have a problem coming out flat with no energy,” Brogan said. “And it usually takes something like a couple of big shots to get us going.
“We definitely need to work on that because they jumped out on us with an early lead.”
Vincent Olmo dominated in the paint for Ripon, posting 10 points and 10 rebounds along with two blocks. Olmo’s size forced Escalon (0-2, 1-15) to redirect drives all night, causing shots to fall off the mark.
“I’m bigger, so when they see that I am tall and long and will affect their shot in some way they have to try and float it over my hand and that is a harder shot,” Olmo said. “We need to bring more energy. We brought enough at the end to win it, but that wasn’t the energy that we wanted.”
Olmo brought the crowd to its feet at the end. He dished an assist to Brogan with a minute left, and after Sahil Prasad (21 points) scored for Escalon the Indians were going to run out the clock when Danny Hernandez spotted Olmo under the basket. Olmo took the pass, slammed home a dunk and then got back on defense to block the last shot attempt by the Cougars.
Ripon 60, Escalon 57
With the shot clock running down to zero and four seconds showing on the game clock, Julian Sanchez banged a 3-pointer for the Indians that proved to be the game-winner in double overtime.
Dorian Dougherty led Ripon with 17 points and Ryan Banner added 10.
Ripon 70, Escalon 58
Malik Taylor led the Indians with 26 points followed by Aaron Wood with 14 and Braydon Haines with 12.