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Vista del Lago girls prepare for Oak Ridge

By: Matt Long
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Vista del Lago’s stiffest test to date will come Wednesday when the varsity girls’ basketball team plays host to Oak Ridge in the final game of the first round of league play. The Eagles, 3-1 in league and 17-3 overall, only have one league loss to Christian Brothers, but the Falcons have already lost twice to the Lady Trojans. Vista coach Jim Stephens has seen Oak Ridge (5-0, 17-3) play several times and knows what they do. “We’re going to have to find a way to handle their defensive intensity,” Stephens said. “They get a lot of offense from their 2-2-1 press and they play well together. It will be tough to score against them. “If we can get them in their half-court offense and slow them down a bit, we’ll have a chance.” Stephens is well aware of Oak Ridge’s top scorer, Sara James, who is averaging 21 points a game. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Sara,” Stephens said. “Her intensity, focus, ability and athleticism make her the top player in Northern California. She presents a lot of problems for any opponent.” Stephens isn’t counting his team out, but knows they’ll have to play close to a perfect game to win. “We’re going to need energy, belief in each other and belief in the game plan,” Stephens said. “Basketball is a game of possessions and no matter what happened a second ago, I want the girls to win the next possession.” In their only action last week, the Eagles defeated Union Mine on Friday, 54-29. As the final score indicates, the Diamondbacks didn’t prove to be too much of a hurdle, as Vista led 16-4 after the first quarter, 27-10 at halftime and 41-21 after three quarters. Despite the 25-point win, Stephens wasn’t pleased with his team’s play. “We played very well in the first quarter, but then relaxed after that,” Stephens said. “Maybe our 13-for-33 performance at the free throw line is clouding my opinion, but our offensive execution wasn’t all there either. I hope we re-focus for Oak Ridge on Wednesday.” Monica Miles led Vista with 17 points, while Stephanie Stephens scored 16. Brittany Stegall added seven points, while both Danielle Bryant and Jessica Pena scored five. After facing Oak Ridge on Wednesday, the Eagles open the second half of league play at Cordova on Friday.