Resiliant Eagles get by Colfax, 49-46

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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After six straight losses, Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball team was in need of a win and they got one Thursday, defeating Colfax, 49-46, in the first round of the Lady Bulldog Winter Classic.

Vista, 5-6 on the season, advances in the winner’s bracket and will play McClatchy at 6 p.m. Friday.

The Eagles led from start to finish, but Colfax made them work for everything and nearly sent the game into overtime on a last-second shot.

Colfax hit a three-pointer with 35 seconds remaining to bring the score to 47-46, the closest they’d been to the lead since the beginning of the game. The Falcons, however, wouldn’t score again, while Kendall Moore knocked down a pair of free throws with 16 seconds remaining to put the Eagles up by three.  Colfax had a three-point shot at the buzzer that just missed going in.

“We’re playing better,” Vista coach Marty Benjamin said. “We played our best game against Dixon and lost (on Dec. 17), but our effort carried through to today’s game. Our intensity was the key. Every game we’ve played with intensity we’ve been successful. We’re still making mistakes, but if we would shoot our free throws and rebound better, we’d be doing a lot better.”

If nothing else, the Eagles showed they were a resilient bunch against Colfax. After every run the Falcons made at the lead, the Eagles answered.
Vista started the game with a 12-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game, but the Falcons scored the final eight points of the quarter to knock the lead down to four, 12-8.

Rebecca Stephens played her best offense in the second quarter, scoring six straight points for the Eagles and keeping them in front, 18-13, midway through the quarter.

Twice the Falcons got as close as two points to the lead in the third quarter, but Vista stood strong. Holding a slim 23-21 lead with 6:15 to play in the quarter, the Eagles answered Colfax’s challenge with eight straight points. Stephens hit a jumper and Stephanie Clawson followed with a pair of driving layups before Hailey Coburn scored to give the Eagles a 31-21 lead with 3:03 to play.

Colfax responded with eight straight points, before Coburn and Kendall Moore converted back-to-back three-point plays to put the Eagles in front, 37-29.

Moore scored six of her team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter and Clawson added four to keep the Eagles out in front.

Vista had three players in double figures. Following Moore’s 13, Clawson finished with 11 points and Coburn had 10. Stephens finished with nine points and added 12 rebounds and seven blocks.

“I’m thrilled with the effort tonight,” Benjamin said. “We beat a good team. Colfax is the best team we’ve beaten this season. Our effort outweighed our mistakes tonight. Rebecca has been doing it all season and the rust is coming off Kendall’s game and she played great. It all starts with Stephanie, though, our point guard.