By: Bret Schanzenbach
The Vista High School gymnasium was a packed house Friday night as crosstown rivals Rancho Buena Vista Longhorns arrived for their conference matchup. The Longhorns are experiencing a resurgent season under second-year head coach Aaron Abrams. After several years of losing seasons, RBV enter play Friday night at 15-6 (1-2 conference). Vista is seeking to win their second consecutive league championship under coach Anthony Bolton and return to the Open Division of the playoffs as one of San Diego County’s elite eight teams. The Panthers opened play Friday at 16-6 (2-1 conference).
The first quarter was fast-paced as both teams raced up and down the court. Sloppy play for both teams dominated the action and RBV emerged with a 12-10 lead as the quarter concluded.
In the second quarter, Vista started hot and threatened to blow the game open, but RBV sophomore Jack Bailey hit two 3-pointers to keep the Longhorns close
Vista ended the half with a 29-22 advantage. The second half, however, was all Vista as the Panthers rolled to a 75-39 victory. The Panthers increased their defensive intensity, forcing many RBV turnovers and Panther seniors Isaiah Morris and Taurus Samuels took over the game. Morris led all scorers with 21 that included an array of 3-pointers and several driving layups that were heavily contested. Dartmouth-bound Samuels, Vista’s trusty point guard, finished with 19.
Junior forward Jordan Hilstock contributed 16 for the Panthers. Junior Patrick McLachlan lead RBV with 10 points.
The Longhorns will get a chance to redeem themselves as they host the Panthers on February 15. Both teams continue league play next Tuesday with Vista (17-6, 3-1) headed to El Camino (13-8, 3-1) to play the Wildcats and Rancho Buena Vista (15-7, 1-3) traveling to Mission Hills (11-9, 1-3) to take on the Grizzlies.
All Photo Credits: Joleen Schanzenbach