TRACY — Turlock High has sprinted to a 7-0 start on the strength of its perimeter players.
Meanwhile, Enochs High is looking to ride the size of its triple towers as it shoots to repeat as the Modesto Metro Conference champion.
When the teams met in Wednesday's first round of the Tracy Winter Holiday Classic, the team whose strength was the most developed at this point of the season was bound to prevail, and that was Turlock, which pulled away in the final quarter for a 63-50 victory.
The Bulldogs will meet co-host Tracy tonight at 7:30 in a second-round game. Of the 10 Stanislaus District teams in the 16-team, two-gym event, only Turlock, Modesto and Weston Ranch pulled out first-round wins.
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Modesto will play at co-host West High at 7:30, while Weston Ranch will play Vallejo at 6 p.m. at Tracy High.
Enochs (6-4) never led after the opening three minutes, but never completely lost touch with the Bulldogs.
Travis Souza scored 15 of his team-high 22 points in the first half, but Turlock led only 28-24 at the break.
The equalizer was Scott Robertson, the one part of Enochs' inside game with the most range. The 6-feet, 6-inch senior had 10 points at halftime, and added 14 more in the second half, including nine on three 3-pointers.
The other towers, 6-7 junior Ty Galloway (10 points,) and 6-8 senior Abel Watts (eight points,) helped the trio account for all but eight of Enochs' points.
"Scott maintained his poise and shot the ball well," said Eagles' coach Brad McGhee. "If he scores 20 points and gets four rebounds it's not going to be enough. We need 10 rebounds a game from all our big guys.
"We have to take advantage of our size and that's the whole idea. Turlock has big guys who can shoot and they pass the ball well."
Turlock certainly is far from helpless inside. Senior Eric Wetzel, who missed Tuesday's practice with flu symptoms, at times looked overmatched against Enochs' height, but he made up for it with constant hustle and finished with 16 points. Anthony Hubbard added 13 points, mostly on drives.
"We figured out late in the game that if we penetrated, drew the defense and then kicked it out, we'd be a little more successful," said Turlock coach Doug Cornfoot. "But their big guys are difficult to defend against."
The Bulldogs led 42-37 after three quarters, and trailed by seven early in the fourth quarter when they bobbled a fast break opportunity out of bounds. When someone on the bench screamed for a foul, Enochs was hit with a technical.
Souza hit both free throws to bump the lead to nine points and break whatever rhythm the Eagles were trying to build.
"We were in the ballgame until three or four minutes were left," said McGhee, whose team opens consolation bracket play today at 4:30 p.m. against winless Lathrop at Tracy High. "The kids fought hard and for the most part executed what we wanted them to do."