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Vista upsets fifth-seeded Weston Ranch, 72-71

Lowman scores career-high 38 points, including winning free throws
By: Matt Long/Telegraph Sports Editor
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Patrick Lowman scored a career high 38 points and Vista miraculously survived a 22-0 run in the fourth quarter to upset fifth-seeded Weston Ranch on Wednesday night, 72-71. Vista advances to the second round of the Division III playoffs on Friday where they will play at fourth-seeded Lindhurst. The Eagles held a comfortable 67-47 lead with 6:25 to play in the game before the Cougars came roaring back on a 22-0 run. Despite going 4:38 without scoring a point in the fourth quarter and seeing their 20-point lead turn into a two-point deficit, the Eagles stopped the bleeding with free throw by Jake Duenkel and sealed the win with a pair of free throws from Ryan Rodriguez and Lowman, not to mention a great defensive stand over the game’s final 28 seconds. The cardiac kids are moving on. “We went an awful long time without scoring,” Vista coach Matt von Tillow said. “Early in the season we would have lost a game like this by 25 or 30 points, but the difference is this team has come together. They play hard and they step up when they’re thrown into adversity.” Lowman stepped up when his team needed him, scoring 20 of his 38 points in the first quarter, including five three-pointers. He finished the game with seven. “It was an awesome win; by far our best performance all year,” Lowman said. “We would have liked to win by 17, but they’re a good team and made some shots in the fourth quarter. I knew it was a big game and I wanted to get myself going early and the shots were falling.” Von Tillow’s watched him play all season, but was still impressed by Lowman. “He’s a special player,” von Tillow said. “It’s hard to score 38 points when it’s a playoff game and the other team has prepared to stop you. He was unbelievable tonight.” Lowman’s 20 first-quarter points, including a desperation three at the buzzer coming four strides on the other side of midcourt, helped the team out to a 24-14 lead. Weston Ranch cut the lead to seven by halftime, but the Eagles went on an 11-4 run in the final two minutes of the third quarter, including a pair of threes by Ian MacLachlan, one coming at the buzzer, and one by Lowman, to take a 59-47 lead into the fourth quarter. MacLachlan finished the game with 11 points, including three threes in a three-minute span late in the third quarter and into the fourth. “My teammates found me and I made them,” MacLachlan said of the shots. “They made a run in the fourth quarter, but we played good defense at the end.” MacLachlan’s points were big and helped take some of the scoring load of Lowman. “The way Pat was playing we didn’t need much else offensively, but Jake was looking more to facilitate others and Ian got some good looks and hit them. It was a big confidence boost for him.” Vista opened the fourth quarter with an 8-3 run with a layup and three-pointer by MacLachlan, followed by another three by Lowman with 6:25 to play. It was the last field goal the Eagles made in the game, but the 20-point lead was a big enough cushion and they made five-of-seven free throws in the final 1:47 to secure the win, the winning two free throws coming off the hand of Lowman. Weston Ranch had a final shot and the Eagles kept the ball from going to the Cougars’ top scores. Felix Beunrostro had the last look and his three came up short, as Vista’s player came pouring onto the court as the buzzer sounded. Despite being outscored 24-13 in the fourth quarter, the Eagles had the one-point win. Dylan Alexander scored 32 points to lead the Cougars, while Andre Beard finished with 23. Vista also received some scoring from Duenkel, who finished with seven, while Drew McPherson and Tyler Jones both scored six. Jones suffered an ankle injury in the second half and did not return to the game, as the Eagles received solid minutes from Jeffrey Reinking off the bench.