On a night that Davis High inducted four former standout athletes into its Hall of Fame, senior guard Jose Blanco had a Hall-worthy performance of his own.
Blanco heated up in the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his game-high 30, as the Spartans pulled away from Johansen for a 68-51 Modesto Metro Conference victory Friday night at Davis High.
Some of the crowd was there to see the school's Hall of Fame ceremony: Raul Bautista (soccer), Landon Seefeldt (wrestling), Ashleigh Smith (cross country, track and field) and Robby Valenzuela (football) were inducted.
Those who stuck around for the finish with the small but vocal student cheering section saw the Spartans turn a 44-41 lead entering the fourth quarter into a runaway victory.
Davis (14-8, 6-5) is alone in third place in the Modesto Metro Conference, while Johansen (11-13, 5-6) falls to fourth. The game was key for the playoffs. Davis is ranked No. 16 in the latest Sac-Joaquin Section power ratings, while Johansen is No. 18. Only the top 16 teams move on to the playoffs.
"We knew we had to have this one for the playoffs," Blanco said. "We're making our playoff push, and this one was huge."
Entering the fourth quarter, it appeared the game was going to go down to the wire, too. But that changed early in the fourth.
"We started making shots, including our free throws," Davis coach Dan Pacheco said. "We were able to execute and finish."
The Spartans scored the first 15 points of the quarter, 11 of those coming from Blanco. Blanco was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
Davis, the defending MMC champion, now hopes to play spoiler with four games left on its schedule. Next week, the Spartans play at first-place Davis on Wednesday, followed by a homecoming game against second-place Modesto on Friday.
"It's an important week for us," Blanco said. "We feel we're building some momentum. Plus, we need to keep winning for the playoffs."
DOWNEY 72, BEYER 66, at Beyer -- Forward Nick O'Brien scored 24 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, as the No. 3-ranked large-school Knights (18-5, 10-1) held off the Patriots (9-15, 3-8). O'Brien hit four 3-pointers in the frantic final quarter, when the Knights were outscored 25-22.
Downey's Booker Hinton scored 18 points, while teammate Joe Hardee had 11.
Beyer used its long-range shooting to stay close, hitting 12 3-pointers, while 6-foot-5 center Bryan Garbez had 12 points. Dom Rossi hit five treys to account for all 15 of his points.
Bee staff writer Will DeBoard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.