Dominant second half gives Vista girls first CAL winBy: Nick Pecoraro
Vista del Lago girls’ basketball coach Marty Benjamin had his girls’ squad scrimmage the Vista boys’ team earlier this week to get them ready for a fast-paced Capital Athletic League.
Getting acclimated to a high tempo set the tone for a good practice week for the Lady Eagles after suffering back-to-back losses in their previous two games.
The Lady Eagles’ efforts were rewarded in a 49-31 home victory over El Camino on Friday night. Lindsey Moody led the way with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, and Tara Singh added nine points, 12 rebounds and five assists to help Vista team get off to a 1-0 start in league play.
Defensive intensity led to a 16-2 third quarter output from Vista. Sydney Batt rebounded, blocked shots and deflected passes in what Benjamin said was her best defensive effort all year “by a mile.”
“I was really happy with our energy tonight, especially after two losses,” said Benjamin. “When you hold a good team to seven points in the second half, you’re doing something good.”
Vista dominated the offensive glass in the first quarter, while sustaining a 14-4 run. El Camino answered with its own 10-0 run to knot the score at 14 in the second quarter, before Vista responded with another emphatic 11-2 run to cling to a four-point halftime lead.
A 13-4 record — before Friday’s game — is the best mark the Lady Eagles have reached before starting league play since the 2008-09 season.
Vista defeated El Camino 51-47 on their way to winning the Jan Vittel Tournament at El Dorado High School in December behind another double-double from Moody. Vista had won 12-of-13 games before suffering back-to-back losses to Cordova and Union Mine by a combined six points prior to Friday night’s win against El Camino.
The Lady Eagles (14-4, 1-0 CAL) face an abnormal schedule with all five of their CAL road games in succession over the next two and a half weeks beginning with Christian Brothers and Casa Roble next week. Vista finishes its league schedule with four consecutive games at the Eagles’ Nest over the final two weeks of the season.
“I think it’ll be manageable,” said Benjamin. “It will be a grind to get through five in a row on the road because we have the top-four teams in the league, but it will be nice to finish out at home when we’re playing games that really matter and we're jockeying for potential playoff position. I’ll be glad to get home after those five on the road.”