ATWATER -- One of the first things John Bliss did when he became coach was add the word hustlin' to Buhach Colony's nickname.
"It's one of my core beliefs," Bliss said. "I don't care what sport you're coaching, you want your kids to play hard.
"It's one of the few things you can control. You practice it every day."
The effort was definitely there for the Buhach Colony boys basketball team on Tuesday night.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
However, costly mistake down the stretch helped Enochs escape with an exciting 95-89 win in Bliss' debut on the BC bench.
"It was a great effort," Bliss said. "It's kind of draining, but it's a good kind of draining.
"Our guys played hard. Just a couple mental lapses at times cost us."
Bliss has brought his end-to-end style of basketball over from Merced where he spent more than a decade as the girls coach.
His first group at BC has definitely bought into his program.
Buhach Colony went toe-to-toe with a much taller Enochs squad led by 6-foot-9 forward Marcus Bell, who finished with 20 points to go along with 17 rebounds.
Bliss' boys countered with end-to-end pressure throughout the game.
Nine different players scored as Buhach combined for 12 3-pointers.
Justin Lewison caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 14 of his 17 points.
Lewison helped BC turn a 10-point deficit into a 51-43 lead at intermission.
Hodari Peterson poured in 19 points for BC. Jarrell Davis and Denzel Brown each added 15 points.
Enochs finally pounded the ball down low to Bell in the second half and chipped away at the lead.
A 10-3 run to start the fourth quarter put Enochs out in front to stay the rest of the way.
A couple turnovers in the final minute proved to be costly for Buhach Colony.
"Little things make a big difference," Bliss said. "I know I'm not coining any new phrase, but it's true."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.