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Playoff newcomer Enochs cruises to win over Pitman

Enochs High School is a newcomer to the postseason, but the Eagles have something in their favor that not even the most experienced basketball program in the section can match.

When Enochs chooses to go to a big lineup, it can put a team on the floor with a 6-foot-9-inch center and forwards at 6-7 and 6-6.

And in Friday night's 73-61 victory over Pitman, the Eagles proved just how high they are able to soar when the triple towers rise up.

The trio -- center Marcus Bell (18 points) and forwards Abel Watts and Scott Robertson (10 points apiece) -- were on the floor together for a total of 6 minutes, 15 seconds. During that time, Enochs outscored the Pride 20-6.

"It's really unstoppable," said Robertson, a junior. "When we're doing our rotation, someone's always bound to be open."

The Eagles improved to 21-7 and earned a trip to Tuesday's second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs, where they will meet Folsom at the University of the Pacific. The game time has yet to be announced.

The tall trio's first appearance came with two minutes left in the first quarter and Enochs holding an 11-9 lead. A 14-2 run followed, with the trio accounting for all of the points.

"We had a slow start tonight, which has been something we've had trouble with all year on the road," said Pitman coach Harvey Marable, whose team finished with a 19-8 record. "To start out slow against a team with that kind of size makes it tough."

The margin grew as large as 21 points, 49-28, with 41 seconds left in the third quarter when Enochs wavered.

The Eagles wanted to get as many players in the game as possible, but the substitutes put a stop to the flow. And with Pitman needing 3-pointers, having three big men in the floor made little sense.

The Pride, held in near-complete check for 23 minutes, suddenly found their own rhythm. Junior forward Dominic Romeo got inside twice to score three of his game-high 20 points to close the third quarter. Then, when Sam Baker and Edgar Lopez hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spur a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter, Pitman suddenly was within eight points, 49-41, with 6:05 left.

"We went to sleep there for about three minutes and that's all it took for Pitman to come back," said Enochs coach Wayne McGhee. "Those kids can shoot."

But so can Enochs. Kolton Pico, the steadiest of the Eagles with 16 points and seven assists, hit a 3-pointer and had 10 points in the final four minutes, and sophomore Matt Iles hit two 3-pointers as the Eagles never let Pitman get closer than eight the rest of the way.

"We have a lot of depth on this team," McGhee said. "Those kids really give their all in practice and deserve to play. We got a lot of kids in the game and this was a great win for them."

Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at bvanderbeek@modbee.com or 578-2300.

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