After four consecutive losses to crosstown rival Enochs, Dakarai King wasn't ready to go home a loser Friday night.
"They already beat us twice this year and they beat us last year, too," Johansen's shooting guard said. "I was getting tired of losing to those guys."
King made sure the streak didn't extend to five, scoring Johansen's first 13 points in the fourth quarter to spark a 65-54 win in the Modesto Metro Conference opener.
That furious finish capped a career night for King, who scored 31 points and constantly brought the crowd to its feet with perimeter shooting.
"This game, it's got to be in the top three for me, because I was hitting my shots and because we won," the 6-foot senior said. "They beat us earlier with their size, so we tried to make their big guys run."
The pace certainly benefited the Vikings, whose tallest player is 6-foot-2. Enochs, in comparison, featured 6-7 Ty Galloway and 6-6 Scott Robertson.
The Eagles typically rely on 6-8 Abel Watts, as well, but he was in street clothes Friday.He would have been unable to keep up with the pace that Johansen was pushing, anyway.
"If we're ever going to beat Enochs, this was the night we were going to do it," said Johansen coach Allan Davis, noting Enochs' shooting guard Matt Iles is out for at least another month with a broken hand.
Enochs beat the Vikings 79-66 and 65-54 in December, and beat Johansen in last season's last two meetings.
"They used their size on us in those games, and we knew had to get after every loose ball," Davis said. "There were a lot of rebounds we got because our guys were pursuing loose balls."
Johansen's (12-6, 1-0) aggression under the boards played a role in King's performance on the offensive end, as he scored some of his buckets in transition. He also hit two 3-pointers, and nailed four of his five free throws.
King's two treys in the first quarter helped Johansen to a 22-15 lead, but he went cold for two quarters before returning to form for a furious finish.
Enochs (11-7, 0-1), which had trailed from the opening moments, took its first lead when Thomas Richardson put back a missed shot to make it 46-43 with 6:26 to go. King then scored on a fastbreak, and hit the free throw after being fouled, to tie it at 46.
Herbert Whitehurst answered with a basket to put Enochs back in front, but it was all King the next 4 minutes.
He hit two consecutive shots, put in two free throws, and then nailed a jumper from the top of the key. With Johansen up 54-48, King continued his flurry by turning an offensive rebound into two points, then hit Todd Smeltzer under the basket for an easy layup to give Johansen a 58-48 lead.
"Shooters are streaky, but I felt real good in the fourth quarter," said King, who hit six of his final seven shots and scored 19 in the second half. "We wanted to make this a fast game because it would tire the big guys."
The pace didn't bother Robertson, a fluid forward who seemed at home going up and down the court at a rapid pace. He had 18 points and seven rebounds, and hit six of eight shots in the second half. Surprisingly, Galloway took only seven shots despite his height advantage over the Vikings.
Galloway, often defended by a player five or six inches shorter, managed just two baskets and four rebounds.
"We had four of five guys willing to battle for every rebound," said Davis, whose club hit seven treys to Enochs' one. "We're all streaky shooters on this team, that's how shooters are."
Enochs was never able to settle into its methodical half-court offense, not with King, Brandon Ballard, Ezekiel Batt and the other Vikings getting in the grill of Enochs' young guards.
"I think you'll see more of this now that we're in league," King said. "We need to make sure everyone runs."