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Division II Girls : Enger Gives Vista Edge Over San Marcos, 65-51

A moment of silence, if you will, for San Marcos High School, a 65-51 loser Saturday to Vista in the San Diego Section Division II girls’ basketball championship at the Sports Arena.

After all, several moments of silence, along with Vista center Chris Enger, contributed to the Knights’ demise.

“We were still breathing too heavy (at the start), looking at that big scoreboard,” San Marcos Coach Bob Kellison said.

Talk about some serious droughts:

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--There was the start of the first quarter, when San Marcos (21-7) didn’t score for the first 3:08. Shantell Paopao finally broke through with a 10-foot jumper to make the score 6-2.

--The start of the second quarter was even more damaging. Trailing, 18-12, San Marcos watched Vista (26-3) score seven consecutive points before Susie O’Brien made a couple of free throws with 5:37 left.

--The beginning-of-the-quarter blues continued for the Knights after halftime. Vista scored 11 of the first 14 second-half points to move ahead, 44-26, with 5:22 left in the quarter.

A large part of San Marcos’ problems were located in the center of Vista’s zone defense in the person of the 6-foot-4 Enger. She had 10 points and five rebounds in the first quarter alone, and her long arm span kept San Marcos players looking over their shoulders each time they got the ball inside.

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Enger, who averaged 27 points this year, finished with 26 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots. She wasn’t the game’s leading scorer--O’Brien finished with 33--but she did earn her first Section championship. And that, for Enger, won the war against O’Brien, the county’s leading scorer (29.9 points per game).

“It’s a relief and total happiness,” Enger said. “At times, I thought about her (O’Brien), but I tried to put it out of my mind. She’s really a good player.”

San Marcos’ best chance to get back into the game came when Enger drew her fourth foul with about 4 1/2 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Vista Coach Joe DeMaria sat her down with his team ahead, 44-26, and San Marcos went on a 13-2 run, but it wasn’t enough.

“If we could have taken more advantage of the time she (Enger) was out, it could have been a different story,” O’Brien said.

Said Enger: “I was just praying we could hold the lead or extend it.”

Vista held it. The Panthers had their smallest lead of the second half, 46-39, at the end of the third quarter. But Vista scored six consecutive points to open the fourth quarter.

Dana Christofferson added 20 points for Vista and Kelli Schott had 18, taking some of the burden off Enger.

Paopao scored 12 for San Marcos.

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