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Eagles win Gold Dust tourney, travel to Oak Ridge tonight

Pierce Rexford is MVP of tournament
By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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With seven returning players from a year ago, Vista del Lago’s varsity boys’ basketball team is hoping for a strong season.

The Eagles kicked the season off the right way by winning the Gold Dust Tournament held last week at El Dorado and Union Mine high schools. Not only was it a perfect 3-0 weekend for the varsity team, but the program’s junior varsity and freshman teams also won their respective tournaments.

The varsity squad got by Union Mine in the first round Thursday, 67-61, in what was their most competitive game of the tournament. Friday night, the Eagles defeated Antelope, 68-55, and finished off the tournament Saturday by rolling over El Dorado, 67-45.

The championship game against El Dorado was a bit anti-climatic, as the Eagles jumped out to a 14-5 lead in the first quarter and by halftime led comfortably, 34-12, and were on their way to a big victory.

“We jumped out on top of them and got a big lead, and were able to play everyone, which was nice,” Vista coach Tim Weir said. “We did OK, and did some things we hadn’t done yet this season, but it was an off-game for El Dorado.”

Vista senior Pierce Rexford capped off a solid tournament by scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in the championship game. Taylor Ignacio added 10 points, while Miguel Guia scored eight. Rexford averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds in the team’s three games and earned the Most Valuable Player award of the tournament.

“Pierce played well, but I think he can play even better,” Weir said. “I think he can be a 20-10 player and maybe even a 20-13 player. I want to keep pushing him because I think he can get better.”

Brendan Conneely also earned all-tournament honors, but more for his strong defensive play than his offensive prowess.

“At this point, I think Brendan is going to guard the other team’s best player unless he’s a post player,” Weir said. “He guarded Union Mine and Antelope’s best players and held them to two baskets each while he was in there.”

The Eagles will travel to Oak Ridge on Tuesday before playing in the Battle in the Foothills round-robin tournament at Ponderosa High School Thursday through Saturday. The Eagles play at 5 p.m. Thursday against El Capitan; at 5 p.m. on Friday against Union Mine, and at 6:30 p.m. Saturday against Ponderosa. The Eagles then have a rematch with El Dorado at 7 p.m. in Placerville on Monday.