Joe Davidson

Vista del Lago soars into D-III boys basketball final

The Eagles are up to their old tricks.

A year after Vista del Lago stunned powerhouse Capital Christian in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III boys basketball playoffs with a halfcourt shot, the Eagles rattled the field again.

On Wednesday night in Galt, fourth-seeded Vista del Lago upset top-seeded Vanden 69-66 in overtime. A 15-1 run to open the second half gave the Eagles a 52-38 lead over a team that has been ranked in the top 10 in Northern California among all divisions for much of the season. Luke Avdalovic scored 25 points for Vista, Grant Bellis had 12, and Will FitzPatrick gave his team the lead for good with a late bank shot to send the Eagles to their first championship game.

Vista (23-7) will face No. 2 seed Capital Christian (22-7) on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Pacific, and if the thought of playing FitzPatrick and Vista makes the Cougars wince, there’s good reason. FitzPatrick made a halfcourt buzzer beater to eliminate Capital Christian last postseason, 64-62. FitzPatrick was mobbed by Vista students, amused that strangers rushed to hug him.

“It’s amazing,” FitzPatrick said of the season. “All of our hard work to get back in this position is paying off. Our goal this season was to improve off of last year, and we are looking forward to another big one Saturday.”

Capital is led by guards Zach Chappell (14.5 poins per game) and Conor Jeffery (12.7) and forward Austin Alexander (13.7).

It’s amazing. All of our hard work to get back in this position is paying off. Our goal this season was to improve off of last year, and we are looking forward to another big one Saturday.

Will FitzPatrick of Vista del Lago

All section finalists advance to the NorCal Regional tournament that starts next week. Section champions will earn higher seeds and play at home.

Dean machine – Sacramento Waldorf returned to the D-VI boys championship game after racing past Faith Christian 86-45 in a semifinal. The top-seeded Waves play second-seeded Sacramento Adventist on Friday at noon at Pacific.

Waldorf (26-2) is coached by Dean Stark, who has reached the playoffs 27 times in 30 seasons at the Fair Oaks school. Stark was named in January as one of the section’s six Model Coaches, recognizing him for his years of service and sportsmanship. Stark’s brother, Terry, is the longtime football coach at Inderkum.

The Waves are led by Gabriel Guzman (19.2 points), Max Koehler (13.5), Gabe Scott (12.0) and Saahil Bhakta (9.4).

Waldorf beat Sacramento Adventist 54-51 on Dec. 15. Griffin Trull is averaging 19.1 points for Adventist.

Soccer – Second-seed Jesuit will play Delta League rival and fifth-seed Sheldon Saturday at 6 p.m. at Cosumnes Oaks for the section Division I boys championship. Jesuit has won eight titles since 2001 – 11 overall – with Paul Rose, the winningest soccer coach in state history with 779 victories (third all-time nationally).

Folsom, the tournament’s top seed, defeated Sheldon 5-0 in a semifinal Tuesday. However, the section office on Thursday night ruled that Bulldogs used an ineligible player in that game, resulting in a Folsom forfeit.

In D-II, No. 3 seed and defending champion Cosumnes Oaks plays No. 12 Gregori of Modesto for the title on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Elk Grove. Bee All-Metro kicker RJ Moorhouse leads the Wolfpack with 28 goals and 10 assists, and Andrew Covert has 17 goals.

▪ Top-seeded Davis plays No. 2 Woodcreek for the D-I girls title on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Cosumnes Oaks. Davis, the defending champion, seeks its sixth title.

For complete section brackets: www.cifsjs.org

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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