State

Enochs rolls by Modesto

As the shot clock ticked down to zero, Jalissa Freeman took a pass and turned to the hoop. With little hesitation, the Enochs High sophomore let fly, just beating the buzzer.

The ball sailed toward the basket, banking off the glass and through the net for an improbable 3-pointer.

That basket, which came early in the fourth quarter, gave the Enochs girls a 14-point lead and, effectively, the game in a 61-48 Modesto Metro Conference victory over Modesto High on Thursday night at Enochs High.

With the victory, Enochs (14-7, 4-1 MMC) is tied atop the conference standings with Modesto (10-9, 4-1 MMC). Both teams are a game ahead of Beyer and Davis (3-2 MMC) with one round of league play remaining.

Thursday's win was much needed for Enochs after it lost to Beyer on Tuesday.

"We lose this game, and it's over," Enochs coach Ted Bergerson said. "It was a must-win, and the girls played well."

Enochs did it with a balanced attack -- Freeman, Jessica Lejarzar and Taylor McCain each scored 13 points -- and Shanika Blunt had eight points and 26 rebounds.

"After the loss to Beyer, we knew this was a really big game," Freeman said. "We were pumped. We were ready to go."

Modesto took an early lead, but the Eagles closed out the first quarter with five consecutive points to take a 16-14 lead. They extended it with 11 more consecutive points to open the second quarter.

Enochs freshman VeAnne Navarro scored six in a row during that streak, and also made two nice passes for baskets. Navarro made several nice passes through the game, sometimes surprising her teammates as much as her opponents.

Modesto opened the second half with a 10-0 run to get to within 35-33, but Lejarzar followed with a 3-pointer and the Eagles never gave up the lead.

"I wasn't upset with our offense," Modesto coach Pete Peterson said. "The lack of defensive intensity is what hurt us. We had too many defensive lapses."

Jessica Rodriguez scored 14 points and Kelsey Lemasney had 13 for Modesto, but the Panthers would never get closer after Freeman's 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

"Two seconds left, I had to throw it up there," Freeman said.

Now, the league race has become more interesting.

"Four teams are really in it," Bergerson said. "Whoever's the hottest in the second half, that's who's going to take league."

Freeman said her team's up for it.

"We're playing as a team," she said. "We're playing pretty well right now."

Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at wdeboard@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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