Turnovers send Eagles to defeat for second time by River City, 55-29

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball team is in second place in the Sierra Valley Conference, and Thursday night River City showed why the Eagles aren’t in first.

The conference-leading Raiders improved to 6-0 in league and 13-8 overall with a convincing 55-29 win over the Eagles, who remain in second place in the league with a 5-2 record, the only two losses coming against the Raiders.

The first time the teams met on Jan. 4, the Eagles turned the ball over 41 times and lost by 11 points. This game, despite being on their home court, was much like the first. Turnovers in the face of pressure kept the Eagles from playing with any type of consistency on offense.

Vista took its only lead of the night when Kendall Moore hit the opening basket, but the rest of the quarter was all Raiders, as they led 17-10 after eight minutes of play.

The Eagles played better defense in the second quarter and scored the last four points on baskets by Ezenia Coleman and Rebecca Stephens to keep the deficit at seven heading into halftime.

“Even though we had a lot of turnovers and didn’t play a perfect half of basketball, we were in position to win the game at halftime,” Vista coach Marty Benjamin said. “When we played them before we were down by 13 at half, so this was an improvement.”

The Eagles, however, had a disastrous third quarter, as the Raiders scored the first seven points to open up a 32-18 lead. The seven points were part of a 12-1 run that saw the Raiders in full command, 37-19, before Vista hit its first field goal of the quarter, a bucket by Stephens, with 3:19 to play.

“I told the girls before the game and after that to play with a good team like River City would take four quarters of our best basketball and we took the third quarter off and that was the game,” Benjamin said. “They came out with man-to-man full-court pressure and it was hard for us to adjust. We didn’t play with poise and made too many turnovers.”

Benjamin cleared the bench for the fourth quarter and Keri Reinbolt, Mashad Fallah, Natalie Mills, Lily Loera and Madison Scambray played hard to finish the game.

Stephens led the Eagles with 14 points, while Moore added eight. Katelin King led River City with 20 points, 12 coming in the first quarter. She also hit four three-pointers in the win.