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Despite loss in playoffs, Vista girls have good season

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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With a loss in the first round of the playoffs, the season didn’t end the way Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball team had hoped.

The Eagles knew they’d have to play well to beat sixth-seeded Modesto Christian, but when the team learned just hours before the game that they’d be without their top player, Rebecca Stephens, they knew the task of winning would be much more difficult. Stephens, the team’s starting center and leading scorer, had not made it back in town from a weekend trip and missed school, making her ineligible to play.

“When you go into a game without your leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, and you throw in the fact that Modesto has two big, strong and physical post players, I knew it would be a different game,” Vista coach Marty Benjamin said. “Not having Becca took us out of everything we wanted to do.”

The end result was a 66-29 loss to Modesto Christian that brought about the end of the season for the Eagles, who finished the year with a 15-13 record. Without Stephens, the Eagles fell behind 16-6 after one quarter and by halftime were down 20, 35-15.

The Eagles got the lead to 17 and had a chance to narrow the gap to 15 midway through the third, but couldn’t.

“We actually were playing pretty well considering we were undersized without Becca, but after three quarters we were down 25 and the game was out of reach,” Benjamin said. “I cleared my bench and Modesto extended the lead. Win or lose, this game didn’t define our season. I would have liked to see how we would have played them with Becca, but that didn’t happen.”

Despite the loss, the Eagles accomplished a big goal this season and that was to get to the playoffs, something they didn’t do last year.

“We wanted to win the league and we placed second,” Benjamin said. “We had a goal to qualify for the playoffs and we did that. I think the program is on the right track. We got the freshman team back and we have 18 eighth graders playing, so the future looks bright.”