In the end, the experience of two juniors helped lead Enterprise to a 45-33 win the Tri Counties Bank Basketball Game of the Week over a handful of Foothill junior varsity call-ups tasked with steering the ship until the regular roster is off COVID quarantine.
The Cougars, who run seven deep with four sophomores, two juniors and senior, gave their spirited effort before falling in the second half. Last week, Foothill trailed Shasta 26-22 at half before losing 55-41.
On Tuesday, the Cougars employed a 2-1-2 zone to slow Enterprise junior standouts DeMarreya Lewis-Cooper and Brennan Ramirez down.
“The one thing we said is that we can’t get in a track meet with those guys … they’re so much more athletic than we are,” Foothill coach Bill Elliott said. “So we slowed the game down, made them pause.
“It seemed to work until we got tired and they started to outrebound us. And they turned up the heat a little bit in the second half.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Enterprise beats Foothill 45-33
The Cougars’ zone worked to stagnate the Hornets’ offense in the opening half as Enterprise didn’t attack the seams, settling instead for jumpers.
And most of those weren’t falling as Foothill jumped to an 8-0 lead over the first seven minutes of the first quarter. Enterprise’s first basket came with one minute left in the period as Ramirez hit a 3-pointer from the right wing. Foothill answered with buckets from sophomores Davis Smith and Joel Crandall to boost the lead to 12-3. But DLC brought the ball into the front court with under 10 seconds left and calmly hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make the score look manageable with Enterprise down 12-6.
Enterprise shot 6-of-27 from the field in the first half, including 3-of-13 from range.
“I think it’s typical kid stuff ‘Oh, we’re playing JV kids,’” Enterprise coach Jim Deaver said of his team’s lackadaisical first-half performance. “We knew it (a zone) was coming. We knew it was going to be a 2-1-2 or a 1-3-1, because that’s the only way I think they could stay with us.
“But you have to give credit to his JV kids, they played their butts off.”
The Cougars would fend off several Hornet pushes in the second quarter, but Ramirez’s triple off a Foothill turnover ended the half knotted at 17. He led the game with 16 points while DLC added nine. Sophomore Hudson Edwards led the Cougars with 11.
During the break, Deaver said they didn’t worry about the offensive side, rather “we talked about defense more than anything. We had no effort on defense” in the first half.
The combination of more intensity without the ball, Jahari Johnson at the elbow on offense to make the Foothill zone move laterally and a better job on the offensive glass allowed the Hornets to burst out to 8-0 run to start the second half.
Lewis-Cooper’s putback of his own miss gave Enterprise its first lead before Ramirez hit a pair of jumpers from 10 and 15 feet, respectively. Anthony Sanchez was on the receiving end of a fast-break dime from DLC and suddenly it was 25-17. The Cougars didn’t help themselves out with six turnovers in the first four minutes of the third period.
“We had that stretch of three or four turnovers in a row and that kind of really made the difference in the game,” Elliott said.
Enterprise stretched the edge to 31-21 after three quarters, but Foothill’s youthful inexperience didn’t let them realize they were supposed to go quietly.
Foothill cut the lead to five on a Garrison Sisneros top-of-the-key 3-pointer one minute into the fourth, but second chance opportunities helped Enterprise fend off any comeback ideas.
OSirus Mitchell-Peoples hit a pair of free throws at the 6:21 mark after getting hacked on a putback of a Ramirez miss. One possession later, Mitchell-Peoples again scored, this time off a Sanchez dish after Ramirez rebounded Lewis-Cooper’s miss.
At the end of the night, Deaver said the loss now will pay dividends for Foothill in terms of experienced gained. A point Elliott backed up.
“That’s what I told them, even some of the guys we’re moving back to JV tomorrow,” the Foothill coach said. “You don’t know it right now and it hurts, but just going through the practices and the few games is really going to benefit you next year. You’re going to know what to expect and be able to step into a leadership role.
“You can’t replace experience.”
Enterprise – 6, 11, 14, 14 – 45
Foothill – 12, 5, 4, 12 – 33
Hornets – Johnson 5, Sanchez 6, Mitchell-Peoples 7, Lewis-Cooper 9, Ramirez 16.
Cougars – Crandall 2, Troncale 2, Smith 2, Sisneros 3, Mast 4, Moran 9, Edwards 11.
3-pointers: EHS (3) – Lewis-Cooper, Ramirez (2); FHS (6) – Sisneros, Edwards (2), Moran (3).