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Eagles aim for home playoff game

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball team is coming off wins over Cosumnes Oaks and El Dorado and Rebecca Stephens is a big reason why.

The 6’2” senior post player dominated both games, not only leading her team in scoring, but also in rebounding and blocked shots. Stephens combined for 28 points, 26 rebounds and 17 blocked shots in the two games, as the Eagles improved to 7-2 in the Sierra Valley Conference and 14-10 overall.

“Becca is playing her best basketball of the season,” Vista coach Marty Benjamin said. “It started with the Union Mine game (Jan. 22) and she’s just been really consistent. People might look at the box score and see she only scored 10 points (against El Dorado), but when you add 16 rebounds and nine blocks to that, now that’s a game. You can’t put value on a 6’2” post player, who does that plus anchors our defense. She almost had two triple doubles and she had eight or nine blocks, but she probably altered and forced misses on at least that many other shots.”

In the 42-30 win over the Cougars, Kendall Moore added nine points, while Ezenia Coleman and Stephanie Clawson finished with eight and seven points, respectively.

In the 60-43 win over Cosumnes Oaks Friday, the Eagles showed improvement in their play. Earlier in the season, Vista defeated the Wolfpack by seven at home, but this time won by 17 points on the road.

“We played a pretty good first half and took a big lead into halftime,” Benjamin said. “The game proved to the girls what I’ve been telling them all year. We came out and played hard and with a lot of energy in the first half and led by 16 at halftime, but we didn’t play that way in the third quarter and they outscored us 16-12. When we are active and play hard and with a lot of energy, that’s when we play our best basketball and can beat a lot of teams. When we are flat, there’s a big drop off in our play.”

Stephens scored 18 points in the game and added 10 rebounds and eight blocks. Caprina Pipion added 16 points and eight rebounds, while Coleman scored 11 points and Moore chipped in nine.

Vista has three games remaining on its schedule and has a chance to earn a home playoff game with three wins. The Eagles hit the road this week, playing at Galt (1-9, 5-20) Tuesday and at Liberty Ranch (5-4, 15-9) Thursday. The team finishes up with a home game against Union Mine (5-4, 18-6) Feb. 11.

“We’ve beaten Galt twice so I think something would have to really go wrong for us to not beat them,” Benjamin said. “We beat Liberty Ranch by five points at home the first time, but we played that game without Becca. We’ll have to play well to beat them down there, but it’s a game we should win.”