Eagles survive Trojan assault

Vista wins 56-55 in overtime thriller
By: Jim Ratajczak, The Telegraph
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In a game featuring two playoff bound teams battling in a packed gymnasium with screaming fans, it was only fitting Friday night's game needed more than four quarters to determine a winner. But at the end of the night, the Vista del Lago High School Eagles staved off the Oak Ridge High School Trojans 56-55 in a baskebtall game destined to become a local classic. “This is our biggest win of the year,” said Eagles head coach Jeff Bridges. “What's so rewarding about that win was it took a lot of perseverance. Those are two really quality teams.” Despite the playoff atmosphere, it was an odd night for a game. Both officials went to the whistles early and often, frustrating both benches and draining the game of any rhythm. The scoreboards lost power twice in the second quarter as well, stalling the game for several minutes at a time. But none of that would matter at the end of the fourth quarter when the Trojans, down 51-49, got a clutch basket from Colin Johnson with three seconds to go to bring the game into overtime. In overtime, the defenses really took over and points were few and far between. But with the score tied at 53-53 and only a handful of seconds left on the clock, Eagles forward Demarcus Wishom intercepted a pass from Trojans star Chad Nunes and ran the length of the floor to score, putting Vista up 55-53. Seconds later, the Oak Ridge crowd looked on, stunned, as the Eagles held on for a 56-55 win. After the game, Oak Ridge head coach Bob Christensen was just as heartbroken as his players. “I just want to go and take care of my kids,” he said. Colin Johnson led the Trojans with 23 points on 7-15 shooting. Hayden Lescault led the Eagles with 20 on 6-12 shooting. As both teams look ahead to playoff action, Bridges reflected on the progress his team made in the regular season. “I'd say we went beyond anybody's expectations,” he said. “And we still haven't reached our potential. I'm just really proud of them. This is a great group of kids to coach.” As happy as he was with his team's regular season performance, Bridges knows playoff basketball is an entirely different animal. “The thing we do lack is playoff experience,” he said. “The thing about tournament basketball is you need to play with a sense of urgency. One loss and you're done.”