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Eagles fall to Sac High in Div. III final, 65-55

By: Matt Long
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The smaller, scrappier Vista del Lago Eagles gave Sac High all they wanted, but in the end the Dragons pulled away to a 65-55 victory in the Division III Sac-Joaquin Section championship game on Friday at Arco Arena. In an evenly played game, the difference came at the free throw line, where the Dragons made 31-of-40 free throws, a 77 percent clip, while the Eagles made only 10 of their 20 attempts. “We didn’t shoot the ball well and we probably fouled too much,” Vista coach Jeff Bridges said. “The guys are disappointed. Being here wasn’t enough. They wanted to win and felt that they should have won.” In the end, it was the easy shots that hurt the Eagles. Not only did they miss half of their free throws, but also several layups. “If we make more free throws and our layups it’s a different game but we didn’t,” Vista senior forward Demarcus Wishom said. “We didn’t make the plays that we needed to make. We didn’t execute so we didn’t win.” The Eagles trailed for most of the game, but refused to let Sacramento pull away. They trailed by nine, 49-40, with six minutes to play but went on an 11-5 run to cut the lead three with 1:37 to play. Hayden Lescault, who had no points at halftime, scored six points during the run, while Wishom and Marques White added baskets and Jaqyai Wiley knocked down a free throw. But the remainder of the game would go Sacramento’s way, as it outscored the Eagles 11-4. Spencer Hatten made a big steal and the Eagles were in good position to cut the lead to one or potentially tie the game, but Wishom’s layup was off the mark. Sac High got the rebound and at the other end, 6’11” Robert Garrett scored his only points of the game when he knocked down a pair of free throws. White then missed a jumper with 1:20 left and the Dragons again capitalized at the line as Will Davis knocked down a pair and the deficit that Vista worked so hard to cut down to three was again back up at seven, 58-51. After White converted two free throws, Wishom made a steal and Vista had a chance to cut into the five-point lead, but on a loose ball players from both teams grabbed it and the possession arrow pointed in Sac High’s direction. Two more free throws by Davis put Sacramento up 60-53 with 35.8 to play and they made their free throws down the stretch to extend the lead in a game that was a bit closer than the final score indicates. “We battled and it was a competitive game,” Bridges said. “They’re good and we have a lot of respect for them, but to be honest, us losing had more to do with our errors. If we would have made more free throws and layups it would have been a different game.” Bridges also wondered how the game would have been different if his team could have gotten a three, four or five point lead, instead of playing that far behind most of the game. “That’s basketball,” Bridges said. Lescault scored all 17 of his points in the second half and led the team in scoring. White ended the game with 12 points, while Hatten scored nine. Wishom finished with eight points, while Wiley scored seven.