Eagles have a leg up in SVC, upset Cosumnes Oaks, 63-62

By: Brett Ransford/Telegraph Correspondent
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Don’t call it an upset, but the Vista del Lago boys’ basketball team overcame a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Cosumnes Oaks Wolf Pack 63-62 in front of a charged crowd on Tuesday night. The first of two meetings between the previously unbeaten Sierra Valley Conference squads had Vista (2-0 SVC, 6-11 overall) down by double digits at two separate points in the game and Cosumnes Oaks (2-1, 12-6) charging up the floor on a number of steals toward fast-break points. It was relentless sniper shooting and clutch defense by Vista which propelled it to make 5-of-6 from three-pointers in the fourth quarter, none bigger than Patrick Lowman’s to tie it at 61-61 with less than one minute to play. It was the first tie since the opening quarter, as Vista went down by 10 points in the second and rallied a 12-5 run in the last five minutes of the half to trail 30-27 at halftime. Both teams entered the game having won two of their last three games and five of its last six. Vista entered on a two-game win streak which it extended to three, while ending any chance at Cosumnes running away with league. Arguably Vista’s biggest basket, however, came with seconds to play. Against the Wolfpack’s physical play and size inside, Vista’s shooting around the rim was troubled most of the game, but Lowman cut through and double-pumped a layup to ice the 63-61 lead, his team’s first since its 3-2 lead in the first quarter. Cosumnes was awarded three free throws with 7.9 second to play, one of which was retaken due to a referee’s decision that Vista cheerleaders behind the hoop were distracting during the shot. Cosumnes Oaks’ freshman guard LJ Reed made just 1-of-3 chances. There was Lowman again winning the frantic battle for the rebound off the missed free throw – the ball in his hands and his back on the floor – as the final seconds rolled off the clock. He quickly heaved the ball down the court and time expired as the unranked Eagles dropped the No. 18 team in the area so as to send a message to the rest of the league. “Whatever it takes,” said Lowman, who finished with 10 points and scored seven of them in the fourth quarter. “We’d like to win one game by 10 or 15 points, but Cosumnes is a great team and that was a great win for us.” Limiting turnovers against Reed and the rest of the Wolfpack’s defensive pressure was key to lasting long enough to make a final run for the Eagles. They had 21 turnovers in three quarters and kept it to five in the fourth. Long-range shooting undoubtedly saved Vista from digging 10-point deficits into 20-point deficits. The game’s leading scorer, Vista’s Drew McPherson, went for 22 points and hit four threes. Jake Duenkel and Lowman hit two three’s each and as a team Vista recorded 10-of-22 from beyond the arc. “We shut down some of the inside passes that they were getting all game and they were giving me threes so I was taking them,” said McPherson. “There’s always a chance for us to comeback. If we don’t make threes we’ll do something else.” Tyler Jones battled for his nine points inside. Duenkel scored 12 points in the fourth quarter and 18 overall. In two league games Vista has come back twice for both wins and the biggest competition under their thumb until facing Cosumnes again in the second round. Cosumnes didn’t shoot a single free throw until stepping to the line in the fourth quarter. Its assist wizard of the third quarter, guard Manny Trillo, fouled out in the fourth and Vista quickly became the team capitalizing on turnovers for a change. Vista now has a chance to distance itself from the rest of the SVC with games against Galt (1-2) and River City (0-3) before taking on the only other unbeaten team Liberty Ranch (2-0) next Tuesday at home in Folsom.