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Eagles battling for berth in playoffs

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Playoff positioning is fleeting in Folsom as the Vista del Lago Eagles (3-5 league, 6-16 overall) dropped their second straight league game in a 53-51 loss to the visiting Cosumnes Oaks Wolfpack (6-3) on Friday night. After a 20-point defeat to El Dorado (68-48) a week ago the Eagles needed some help in Sierra Valley League standings with a win over Cosumnes, whom they previously lost to 69-59. It remained close throughout the duration, but down the stretch Vista lacked execution, despite holding their opponent to only 53 points. Vista’s lack of scoring in the final minutes decided their fate for the game and possibly this season. Neither team struck out on an early lead as the game stayed within five at the end of the first and 29-22 at halftime. Vista took command in the third, preventing Cosumnes from scoring until there was three minutes left in the quarter. Cosumnes scored just nine points, opening a one-point window as Vista trailed heading into the final eight minutes. Scoring tallied back and forth between both teams in the final quarter. Neither team established or commanded any real offensive flow. Patrick Lowman led Vista’s scoring with 13 points, while Brooks Lambertson added nine and Drew McPherson and Ryan Rodriguez both scored six, but coach Matt von Tillow said his team just didn’t make buckets when they needed to. “We were playing good defense, but we could have gotten out to a much larger lead. We just couldn’t pull away,” said von Tillow. “They weren’t making a whole lot of shots, but Cosumnes got to the free throw line a lot and made a lot of free throws.” Von Tillow didn’t talk to his team specifically about playoff chances prior to the game against Cosumnes, but did say that his team needed to take care of business in their last five regular season games. “I don’t know what this loss is going to do to hurt us, but we’ll see on Monday when the power ratings come out,” said von Tillow. “We’re at the point now where worrying about the playoffs is not our first priority. We’re just trying to secure individual game wins and if the power ratings let us in the playoffs they do, and if not, then they don’t.” Vista is seeded 17th with three games remaining. With wins in their last four games of conference play, Vista could secure a trip to the postseason. The third spot in the Sierra Valley is going to be a tough one to snag as Galt (4-5 league) and Union Mine (4-3) are right there in the race. Vista is at home for the next two of a three-game home stand against Galt and lowly Liberty Ranch (0-8). They finish the season at Union Mine on Feb. 16 and at River City (3-6) on the Feb. 18. Vista wrestling The Eagles lost to Union Mine on Feb. 1 and ended up in second place in the Sierra Valley Conference. The Eagles entered the match with the Diamondbacks with a 4-0 record, but lost 48-21. It was a disappointing result to coach Frank Richmond, as he thought his team could have won the match. “We were favored and winning at 119 and 125 before getting pinned and that cost us the match,” Richmond said. The Eagles competed in Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Team Championships and lost their opening match to Central Valley, 44-36. The match came down to the final bout at 189 pounds, a bout the Eagles needed to win, but they didn’t. “I felt we were the better team despite the outcome,” Richmond said. “I’m happy with our performance, as we had four starters out of the lineup and several wrestling sick or injured.” Austin Rompel (103), Daniel Rodriguez (125), Troy Grossi (130), Jaleon Reid (135), Jacob Sahagun (145) and Jordan Bailey (160) earned pins for the Eagles. Matt Long contributed to this article.