Eagles fight back to beat Bruins, 57-46

By: Matt Long
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After a demoralizing loss to Christian Brothers on Feb. 2, Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball coach Swan Wainwright and his team went back to the basics. The basics started with a one-on-one meeting between the coach and his players with the point being the importance of having a positive mental attitude. Everything discussed was positive. “This team has faced a lot of adversity and injuries this season and it’s been tough,” Wainwright said. “My message was that I believe in each player and I need them to step up. If a player lost their 3-point shot, I told them to me that means that they had to have once had that shot and that it was just dormant. I told them to go out there and just play and not think about it and bring that shot back. “Everything was positive. All the I can’ts were replaced by I cans.” Vista defeated Ponderosa on Thursday, 57-46, but had a slow start, trailing 18-4 early in the second quarter. Things started to click in the second quarter, though, and the Eagles finished the quarter on a 13-2 run to cut the deficit to three, 20-17, at halftime. In the second half, as Wainwright put it, the smiles and the joy came back into the team. The shots started falling and you could see the joy and the positive emotion in the players’ faces. The Eagles executed on offense, finding Monica Miles open in the paint on a few different occasions along with Andi Romo and Jessica Pena. There’s nothing like a few easy baskets coupled with a couple of defensive stops to get a team going. Miles’ two free throws tied the game at 26 with 3:53 to play in the third quarter and Pena’s offensive rebound and putback but the Eagles up for good 23 seconds later. Nicole Webb followed with a transition layup, before the Bruins slowed the tide with a 3-pointer. Robin Clawson, however, immediately answered with a three of her own that brought the Eagles bench up in a hurry. Ponderosa again countered with a three, but Miles scored inside and after a Ponderosa score, Wainwright ended the quarter with a drive that gave Vista a 37-34 lead. The Eagles pulled away in the fourth quarter, starting off with a 6-1 run to go up 43-35. Midway through the quarter Brittney Stegall drained a three and two possessions later Pena did the same to put the final nail in win, as Vista led 51-42 with 2:41 to play. Wainwright finished the game with 17 points, while Pena added 10 and Miles, Stegall and Romo all scored eight. “In the locker room I told the team that we’re back,” Wainwright said. “If we would have played like that against Christian Brothers, we would have beaten them by 20 points. We have the ability we just have to go out and do it and not over-think the game.” The 43-34 loss to Christian Brothers came on Feb. 2, but the win over Ponderosa all but erased the memories of the loss. After facing Galt today, the Eagles only have two regular season games remaining, at home Thursday against Union Mine and at home Feb. 18 against Oak Ridge. “We’ve got to go out and take care of business against Galt and Union Mine,” Wainwright said. “If we play like we did in the second half against Ponderosa against Oak Ridge, it will be a much better game.”