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A tale of two halves
Bulldogs take crosstown matchup after late game rally
THS boys pic1
Turlock junior Habib Velasquez attempts a jump shot with Pitmans Branson Garcia (4) in his face during Fridays crosstown matchup. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Pitman High Pride began Friday's home matchup against Central California Conference and crosstown foe Turlock on a roll. That roll turned south, however, after the Pride lost their leading scorer in the second half.

After leading at the half 28-18, the Pride lost one of their leading scorers in Cyle Williams after he picked up his second technical foul near the end of the third. The Bulldogs took full advantage of the Pride's loss and  took control of the game for a 57-41 win.

“Really, there was two games played; when Cyle went out the whole dynamics changed,” said Pitman head coach Harvey Marable. “The enthusiasm was brought up and they rode the wave and never got off of it, they just kept riding the wave. We didn’t play under control in the second half.”

“Anytime it is Turlock and Pitman, the home team usually has that emotional high and we need to know how to weather the storm and I thought we did, we never got down too bad,” said Turlock head coach Doug Cornfoot. “We had sloppy play early on, but we kept our composure and didn’t let their crowd discourage us.”

Turlock has now won five of its last six games and are 4-1 in the Central California Conference. Pitman fell to 2-3 in the CCC.

Pitman’s Williams finished the first half with 18 of the team's 28 points, while the entire Bulldog team struggled to put up points.

With the help of a second half adjustment, Turlock rolled out of the locker room with one goal in mind—stop the press—and they executed with perfection, owning the second half.

Both teams came out and fired away a three pointer each and just before the Pride knew it the ‘Dogs had pulled within one-point after rolling into an 11-2 run to cut the deficit to 32-33.

With great defense the Bulldogs kept the Pride at bay, taking over the rebounding game and forcing the Pride to shoot from the perimeter which resulted in lower percentage shots and misses.

Once Williams went out, the game completed turned over into the hands of Turlock as it pulled away with the game after a 23-8 run sealed the 11th win of the year.

“We made some adjustments at the half on the press and talked about trusting our teammates since too many guys were trying to do too much on their own,” Cornfoot said of the second half adjustments. “I think we started moving the ball better in the second half and that led to open shots.”

Leading the ‘Dogs in scoring was Devan Bains, who finished with a team-high 18 points and notched four assists, three steals and one rebound.

Travis Cook ended the night with a double-double tacking on 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Demsen McFaddin tallied 15 points, three assists, one rebound and one steal.

“It’s a big emotional game. You have a packed house and it’s your crosstown rival, and these guys have been friends for a while and have played against each other for a while and there is a lot of emotion and it takes a lot to channel that emotion,” said Cornfoot.

Pitman’s leading scorer was Williams, who ended the night with 18 points, and Branson Garcia was second with 14 points.

Only five players scored for Pitman, with four of them scoring four or more points.

“When you look at it there were two games played,” Marable said. “In the first half we played to our potential and showed how well we can play and then in the second half we get sped up and sloppy and that is what it looks like. We got a good picture on how we can play, hopefully it carries into the second half.”

Turlock’s next game will be at home against Atwater High at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The Pride's next game will be against Golden Valley at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.