Downey guard puts it on line in MMC victory

Every time Pedro Guzman got the ball Wednesday night, his goal was the same: get to the basket, look around for the nearest uniform of a different color, and jump into it.

It's a risky strategy, given the fact that the guard's height on the Downey High basketball roster is listed at 6 feet, a stature the senior might grow into someday, and he was going up against an Enochs frontcourt led by 6-9 Marcus Bell.

But on this night both Guzman's height and Downey's strategy was just right. Guzman scored 12 of his 26 points at the foul line to lead the Knights' foul shooting parade in a 65-51 homecourt victory over Enochs.

"I felt I was slow at the start of the game, but once I started going right at Bell like I was told to, to get him in foul trouble, we got going," Guzman said. "I just jumped into the guys and tried to get the foul."

Both teams are 1-1 in Modesto Metro Conference play. Downey improved to 8-10 overall while the Eagles dropped to 13-6.

There were 55 fouls called, 36 of which were whistled against Enochs, which lost five players to fouls. Downey lived at the line, where it made good on 29 of 49 attempts. The Knights were 17 of 23 from the stripe in the final 5 minutes, 36 seconds, when it outscored the Eagles 25-9.

"Downey gets all the credit," said Enochs coach Wayne McGhee. "We came unglued and lost our poise, so it's back to the drawing board for us and see if we can come back together as a team."

Enochs had a chance to blow open the game in the first quarter. Tyler Wasden connected on two 3-pointers and Downey couldn't figure out the Eagles' triangle-and-2 combination zone defense as the Eagles soared to a 12-2 lead in the opening seven minutes.

"The main thing we did was drive, because that's where the openings were in that defense," said Downey coach Doug Streeter. "Our kids did a good job showing heart and coming back and played real hard."

Guzman had 10 points in the second quarter, all inside, and the Knights scored the final 13 points of the first half to take a 28-25 halftime lead.

Enochs opened the fourth quarter as it had the first, scoring the first seven points to take a 42-40 lead with 6:16 left. But the Eagles would not record another field goal for the next 4:32, plenty of time for Downey to go on a 19-2 run sparked by 13 free throws.

Yuji Williams finished with 20 points for Downey, and was 8 of 14 at the line. Bell finished with 15 and Wasden 11 for Enochs, which went 8 for 16 from the stripe.

Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at or 578-2300.