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Vista coming on strong at season's end

By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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Every coach wants their team playing better at the end of the season than at the beginning and that’s why Swan Wainwright is walking around with a smile these days, despite an otherwise difficult season. Vista del Lago’s varsity girls’ basketball team enters tonight’s final game at River City with a 6-19 record, but the team has won three of its last four games, including a 59-53 win over Union Mine on Tuesday. The first time the teams met on Jan. 20, Union Mine won by 14 points, 54-39. “We were better prepared to beat them this time and that’s the good thing about playing each team in league twice,” Vista coach Swan Wainwright said. “We watched the game film and we threw in an offense for their 3-2 zone and also worked on beating their 2-3 half-court trapping zone and the girls executed. Also, when we had our senior night against Liberty Ranch, our adrenaline worked against us and I think the same thing happened with Union Mine. We crashed their party.” The game was close throughout, as neither team won a quarter by more than three points. At one point Vista trailed by seven before coming back to win the game. The Eagles have been sparked since junior center Becca Stephens returned to the lineup after missing the entire league season and a few games in December. With her experience and skill back in the lineup, it has given the Eagles another inside presence to go along with Natalie Mills. “We love having Becca back; she makes a difference,” Wainwright said. “We’ve been running the twin towers in there with her and Natalie.” In the win, Ezenia Coleman led the way offensively with 15 points, one of three Eagles to reach double digits along with Hailey Coburn (13) and Stephens (11). Elizabeth Freese scored nine, while Caprina Pipion added eight points to go along with 13 rebounds. Stephens also added six blocks, while Mills had four. Beating River City tonight will be a huge test, as they only have one loss in league and defeated Vista by 29 points earlier in the season. “My whole thing is it’s not how you start, but how you finish,” Wainwright said. “We’ve worked ourselves up to fourth place and if you had told me we would finish in fourth at the beginning of the season I would have said you’re crazy. We’re a young team and the girls have showed a lot of heart.”