It took Enochs High 3 minutes, 32 seconds to make history.
That’s all it took – 212 seconds of a boiling frenzy that stands alone as the best stretch of basketball the Eagles have ever played – to come away with the school’s first-ever postseason basketball victory.
It was a blistering 18-1 run to close the first half that erased a slow start and sent Enochs on its way to a 64-57 victory over Davis (Yolo County) in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 girls’ basketball tournament.
“You can’t do any better than we did right there,” said sophomore guard Katie Dillon, who had an amazing all-around game with team-high totals of 17 points, seven assists and five steals.
“We wanted to have the lead going into halftime so the other team would be intimidated, and we were doing a lot of screaming in the locker room.”
Ahead for the unbeaten Modesto Metro Conference champions (26-2 overall) is a Thursday date at No. 2 seed Oak Ridge of El Dorado Hills. It certainly is as big a challenge as the Eagles have faced this season, but one they’ve been pointing toward since the moment in October the basketballs came out of storage.
“One of the girls’ goals before the season started was to win three games in the playoffs,” said Enochs coach Curtis Reynolds. “I wouldn’t bet against us. I’d like to keep that dream alive. If we hit our shots, we’ll be all right.”
And Reynolds was so confident heading into the playoff opener against the Blue Devils that he already reserved the court for today’s practice.
“Before this game, I wrote tomorrow’s practice time on the board and told the girls that we’ll go for an hour-and-an-half tomorrow and then get out of school early on Thursday, and that excited them more than anything else,” Reynolds said. “We’ll get out of school, get up there and see what we can do.”
To have a chance against Oak Ridge, which advanced Tuesday with a 52-39 victory over Kennedy – the team that eliminated both Enochs and Davis last season – the Eagles will have to start fast, or at least much faster than they did against the Blue Devils.
Davis (17-10) came out in a flat-top 3-2 midcourt press that gave Enochs fits for exactly four minutes, or long enough for the Blue Devils to force eight turnovers and roll to an 11-4 lead. Caitlin Mazzoleni had 10 of her game-high 20 points in the opening eight minutes.
The Eagles were grasping the the ball and gasping for air on offense until, suddenly, the Blue Devils removed the press.
“I was surprised the press went away,” Reynolds said. “As soon as we threw over the top of it a couple times, they gave up on it. I think we eventually would have been OK against it, but I was surprised when they took it off. I would have kept it on.”
Once Enochs was able to get into its half-court offense, it rolled. But Davis also was efficient on offense and took a 28-21 lead when junior center Emma Stenz got inside for a basket with 4:07 left in the half.
That’s when the Eagles started to fly solo. Keana Viss scored eight of her 15 points in a 90-second span as Enochs sprinted to a 39-29 halftime lead.
The Eagles never looked back, building margins as large as 16 points before Davis whittled away in the fourth quarter to the final seven-point spread.
“We worked hard for it, so I’m proud for my girls,” Dillon said. “We were a little nervous at first, and that’s something we’ll need to break for the next games.”
Yes, she said games, as in plural. That’s Dillon showing a lot of pride and a lot of confidence.
But why not? These Eagles already have made history.