Escalon sophomore Madison Babasa connected for a three-point field goal in the final minute that proved to be the dagger in a 43-36 Trans-Valley League victory over first-place Hughson on Tuesday.
The Cougars’ victory creates a logjam atop the TVL standings. Hughson’s regular season is complete, while Escalon (Friday) and Riverbank (Thursday) need to win their last league games to make it a three-way co-championship.
Escalon led 27-26 heading into the fourth quarter and quickly extended the lead to 36-28.
Eventually, Hughson cut the margin to three points — 38-35 — on a bucket by Madi Duron (15 points), forcing Escalon coach Joe Dalpogetti to call a timeout with 1:58 remaining in the contest.
Shortly after coming out of the timeout, Cougars senior Macie Vickers — a former league MVP — hit one of two free throws, setting the stage for Babasa’s three-ball with 51 ticks left on the clock.
Babasa finished the game with 12 points, while teammate Sammy Lang led the way with 13.
“We’ve been in these big games before,” said Dalpogetti. “We were TVL champs two years ago and we played five playoff games last year, so we have some experience in big games.”
To win the outright title, Hughson needs long-shot upsets from both Hilmar and Livingston. Either way, the Huskies will learn their postseason fate when the Sac-Joaquin Section announces its playoff seedings on Saturday at about 1:30 p.m.
“We’re still back-to-back TVL champions and that’s nothing to shake a stick at,” said Hughson coach Tim May. “I think sometimes the girls get so used to winning that they forget how hard it is to win. And this might be a good wake-up call.”
Heading into Tuesday’s action, Escalon, Riverbank and Hughson were ranked 3-4-5 in MaxPreps.com's Division 4 section rankings, respectively, behind No. 2 Marysville and top-ranked Colfax.