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Eagles aim to finish regular season with win over Union Mine

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Last week didn’t go exactly how Marty Benjamin had planned.

The Vista del Lago girls’ basketball coach had anticipated two wins against Galt and Liberty Ranch. The Eagles had twice easily defeated the Warriors and had beaten Liberty Ranch once. The Eagles, however, needed a buzzer-beating three-pointer to defeat Galt on Feb. 5 and two days later lost to Liberty Ranch, 47-34.

The Eagles (8-3 in the Sierra Valley Conference, 15-11 overall) play their final regular season home game Monday against Union Mine (6-5 in league, 19-7 overall). A win and the team will lock up a second-place finish in the league. A loss and the Eagles might likely have a tougher time advancing to the second round of the playoffs if they fall further down the power rankings, which determine playoff seeding.

After a pair of double-digit victories over the Warriors earlier in the season, the Eagles had their hands full this time on Galt’s senior night. The Warriors played with a lot of energy and took a one-point lead with six seconds remaining.  Vista, however, got the ball up the court and Ezenia Coleman drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to give her team a 45-43 win.

Rebecca Stephens scored 19 points, while Caprina Pipion finished with 11. Coleman’s final three-pointer gave her six points on the evening.

Two days later, Vista headed down to Galt again to face Liberty Ranch and the Eagles faced another fired up squad that was celebrating senior night. Liberty Ranch won the game, 47-34, despite a fine performance from Pipion, who had 12 points and eight rebounds.

“Caprina had a nice game, but that was about it for us,” Benjamin said. “She’s playing her basketball of the season. Liberty Ranch’s Selina Moore scored 24 points and we tried every player and every type of defense to stop her and we couldn’t. They also hit eight 3-pointers and we didn’t hit any.”

The Eagles would like to finish the regular season Monday with a win over Union Mine, who they defeated earlier in the season by nine points. Vista will also celebrate its six seniors on senior night, including Stephanie Clawson, Mashad Fallah, Taryn Thomas, Kendall Moore, Ezenia Coleman and Rebecca Stephens.

“I expect the same type of energy from the crowd that Galt and Liberty Ranch had,” Benjamin said. “It really does make a difference. There’s just a totally different vibe.”