Vista’s varsity girls’ basketball team didn’t play one of its better games against Placer Thursday and it resulted in a disappointing 51-47 loss and quite possibly the end to what otherwise was an outstanding season.
The loss on their home court in the quarterfinals of the Division III playoffs was only the team’s sixth of the season in 29 games. Like the Folsom boys’ and girls’ teams, the Eagles are hoping for an at-large berth into the Northern California playoffs, but won’t know if they will get it for a few days.
Until then, all the team can do is reflect on the final game and the season as a whole.
“I told the girls after the game to let the loss sting over night, but the next day they should focus on the positives of the entire season,” Vista coach Marty Benjamin said. “Unless you win the state championship, you’re going to lose your last game. Our original goals this season were to win the league, have a home playoff game and get better as the season continued and we achieved all three of those goals and the loss to Placer can’t erase any of that. I’m proud of the team and thrilled with the season we had.”
The Eagles got off to a good start against Placer, leading 18-11 after the first quarter, but the last minute of the first half turned out to be crucial, as the Eagles lost momentum despite leading 30-25 at the break. In the final minute of the half, Vista held a nine-point lead, but turned the ball over twice on inbound plays and Placer converted the turnovers into four points.
“There’s a big difference being up by nine with momentum compared to being up five without it,” Benjamin said. “That hurt us. Then Placer came out with momentum on their side and outscored us by seven in the third quarter, which turned out to be an 11-point swing and we ended up losing by four.”
Vista had 26 turnovers in the game, including 14 in the second half, as Placer’s physical play and intense ball pressure rattled the team and led to mistakes, which proved to be the difference in the game.
Lindsey Moody led the Eagles with 12 points. Tara Singh added 11 points to go with 12 rebounds, while Sydney Batt finished with nine points.
“Obviously, it was a disappointing loss,” Benjamin said, “especially since it was a winnable game. You feel worse when it’s close and you know you didn’t play your best, but it was a great season.”