Vista girls win first playoff game, 50-26

By: Matt Long
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It wasn’t their best game, but Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball team earned a solid 50-26 victory over Benicia in its opening round playoff game Tuesday night.

The Eagles scored the first 10 points of the game before the offense fizzled out. Benicia then countered with a 12-4 run and trailed by only two points, 14-12, late in the second quarter. The Eagles, however, turned up the half-court trap and scored the final 10 points of the half -- eight points coming directly off Benicia turnovers -- to break open the game for good.

A basket by Lindsey Moody, who led the team with 12 points, put the Eagles up four with 2:16 to play. Sydney Batt then scored a layup in transition followed by layups from Tara Singh and Mia Perez, both coming on assists from Mikayla Totushek. Singh made one final layup before the half and Vista led comfortably by 12, 24-12.

Another good stretch late in the third quarter into the fourth finished off the Panthers, as the Eagles’ defense held Benicia without a point for more than five minutes.

“We didn’t play very well for a long stretch in the first half, but when you hold a team to 26 points you’re doing something right,” Vista Coach Marty Benjamin said. “We won every quarter. This team grinds. We didn’t play great basketball tonight, but we played well enough to win a playoff game comfortably. We hung in there and battled.”

Totushek, a senior point guard, followed Moody’s 12 points with eight points to go along with eight assists and seven steals, as she was both aggressive and steady from start to finish.

“It’s not our best game, but we were determined and focused enough to win it,” Totushek said. “It only gets harder from here, but it’s nice to get that first win and move on.”

The Eagles, seeded second in the Division III playoffs, will host Placer at 7 p.m. Thursday. Placer (16-11) is the No. 7 seed and defeated River Valley 54-45 on Tuesday.

“We’re not going to back down,” Totushek said. “We’re going to be amped up and ready to play. We’re honored to be the number-two seed and it has set a high standard for us to play up to.”