State

Enochs' title shot rejected

Enochs High arrived ready to celebrate a Modesto Metro Conference title, a fairy-tale finish for a school that has yet to graduate its first class.

Beyer, though, had a different sort of ending in mind.

"We knew they were thinking about a title, but we wanted to spoil their party," guard Daniel Lightfoot said. "When we're hot, we can be tough."

And Beyer was hot Thursday night, hitting 11 3-pointers on the way to an 82-74 upset of The Bee's No. 4-ranked large-school team.

Beyer overcame a monster night by 6-foot-9-inch Marcus Bell: 29 points, 24 rebounds, eight blocks and four steals.He spent much of the night going chest-to-chest with Bryan Garbez, a 6-6 center who had 19 points and 20 rebounds.

With the game on the line in the final minutes, though, Enochs seemed to forget what brought it to the cusp of a title.

With Bell battling for position under the basket, guard Kolton Pico got impatient and launched two ill-advised shots in the final 90 seconds.

He missed both, and Beyer took advantage to turn a one-point deficit into a 75-72 lead.

Enochs (19-6, 7-2) turned the ball over on the next possession and intentionally fouled Lucas Maddox with 10 seconds left. Maddux hit two free throws and Lightfoot hit two more for a 81-74 lead.

Garbez, while thrilled with the win, was surprised the Eagles didn't use a taller lineup with 6-6 Scott Richardson and 6-7, 260-pounder Abel Watts.

Richardson, an effective weakside rebounder with a gentle touch around the rim, never got on the court. Watts was exiled to the bench in the fourth quarter after his coach admonished him for not having his shirt tucked in.

"They beat us by 22 at their place," said Garbez, referring to Beyer's 77-55 loss Jan. 28. "I thought they would be coming at us with their big lineup against our smaller guys."

Instead, Enochs spent most of the night with three or four guards and small forwards on the court, which played into Beyer's run-and-gun style.

Lightfoot (21 points, five treys) and Chad Downey (20 points, four treys) were firing away from the perimeter, as the Eagles were slow to react to the Patriots' passing game.

"Me and Bryan were on one side of the court, and that was the side Enochs was paying attention to," said Lightfoot, who hit 5 of 7 3-pointers. "Our other three were on the other side of the court and were putting in their shots."

Had Enochs put Robertson and Bell on the court together, the Patriots would have little choice to but to respond with a taller, slower lineup.

Enochs can still win at least a share of the title by beating last-place Modesto on Wednesday. The Eagles are tied with Johansen (10-14, 7-2), and the Vikings close with Davis.

Bee staff writer Richard T. Estrada can be reached at restrada@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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