Bruins vanquish Vista, 40-33

By: Jim Ratajczak, The Telegraph
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The Vista del Lago High School varsity basketball team was dropped by conference rival Ponderosa on Friday night, 40-33. The Eagles, hoping to rebound after a tough 49-47 loss to Christian Brothers earlier in the week, dropped their second consecutive league game for the first time all season. The home defeat was only the team's second. With the loss, Vista's record moved to 16-8 overall, 6-3 in conference matchups. And yet, after the game, Eagles head coach Jeff Bridges was the epitome of cool. “I'm not worried about (the team's standing),” he said. “We'll try to learn something from this. I don't like the loss, but we'll take something from the game.” Right from the get go, the Bruins were able to exert their will on the Vista squad, slowing the game down to a screeching halt through its perimeter passing scheme and careful shot selection. Despite the slower play, Vista lead 5-4 after one quarter. But Ponderosa took a 9-7 lead halfway through the second and never looked back. “We just got off to a slow start offensively,” said Bridges. “(Ponderosa) went out and played good defense. Those guys play like seniors that have been through this before.” The Bruins opened up the largest lead of the game at the end of the third, 26-17. Given the nature of the previous three quarters and the relative ease with which Pondo controlled the game, the Eagles seemed primed to be on the receiving end of a blowout. To the team's credit, though, the Eagles showed flashes of life throughout the fourth. Behind solid play from forward Demarcus Wishum and a key three pointer from point guard Kalib Smith, Vista closed the gap to 32-30 with 3:30 left to play. “We picked up full court and it gave us more opportunities,” said Bridges. “We up-tempoed them a little.” But for every big shot made by Vista, Ponderosa was able to answer thanks to 6-foot-7 Bruins forward Steve Lackey. Lackey took the game over in the closing minutes, hitting pivotal free throws time and time again and keeping the Bruins out of striking range for good. “He's a good player,” said Bridges. The night nearly took an ugly turn as the Ponderosa student cheering contingency stormed the floor when the game clock expired to celebrate the win. After four quarters of trading verbal jabs, the Vista students didn't take kindly to this show and charged the floor themselves, confronting their rivals. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed when faculty from both schools managed to get between the mobs, ensuring there was only bark and no bite. The Eagles will next take the court Wednesday when they travel to Galt. “Kids are resilient,” said Bridges. “They'll come back ready to go.”