Vista girls, 3-1, host Ponderosa tonight

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Vista girls’ basketball coach Marty Benjamin couldn’t have been much happier to win two-of-three games at the Placer High Tournament last week.

Playing as well as they did this early in the season was a bonus, and while the team opened the tournament with a 48-35 loss to Westlake, Benjamin said it was the best the team played in any of its four games this season.

“That was the best we’ve played,” Benjamin said. “I enjoy those kinds of games quite a bit. I always tell the girls, I can accept playing well and getting beat by teams better than us. Westlake beat us by 13 and that’s probably how much they are than us. We played an excellent game. They went on to win the tournament.”

Mia Perez led the Eagles with 10 points, while Lindsey Moody finished with six points and 12 rebounds. Ceonna Pipion also scored six points.

Vista rebounded to beat Union Mine on Friday, 52-49. The Eagles did what they could to defend the Diamondbacks’ 6-2 post player, senior Carley Zaragoza, but she still managed to score 36 of her team’s 49 points.

“We tried every defense we had on her and nothing worked,” Benjamin said. “They were a scrappy team, but we played well and scored well, finishing with 52 points.

Perez again led the team with 15 points. Pipion added 11, while Moody scored eight.

In the team’s final game of the tournament on Saturday, Vista posted a solid 59-38 win over El Dorado. Moody led the way with 16 points, while Perez scored nine and Pipion had eight.

“We had 50 points after three quarters so I was really happy with our offense,” Benjamin said. “We’re averaging 50 points through four games so that’s pretty good for us. What I’m not happy with is our rebounding, and worse yet is our free throw shooting. We are shooting less than 50 percent from the foul line and that’s unacceptable. We’re also turning the ball over too much.”

While they weren’t among the team’s leading scorers, Benjamin was also pleased with the contributions he received from freshmen Kira Sadler and Linnea Jakubicka.

“Kira scored 14 points in our first game of the season against River Valley and then scored 17 in the three games in the tournament,” Benjamin said. “Linnea scored 14 points during the tournament. Those two have played well and are helping out. They’ve been really poised for freshmen, and they haven’t hurt us.”

All in all, it’s been a solid 3-1 start for the Eagles.

“Like with all my teams, if they play hard and with a lot of energy, they give their best performance,” Benjamin said. “When they don’t bring it, that’s when we struggle. Energy and effort makes up for a lot of mistakes. I haven’t had to ask them to play harder so that’s been great.”

The Eagles play host to Ponderosa Tuesday before competing in the Rumble on the River tournament at River City High School Thursday through Saturday. Vista opens the tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday against American Canyon.