All things went Merced’s way when they came into Pitman High to square off in a Central California Conference showdown on Friday night.
The Bears caught the Pride off guard, as Pitman came into the matchup holding a nine game winning streak.
With a strong performance from the defense and offense for the Bears, they kept the Pride on their heels with a fast paced full court press that took a toll on them early and it led to a 39-51 loss.
“The way they [Merced] played, they took us out of our game which they made us play faster than what we want to play," Pitman head coach Harvey Marable said.
Questionable calls by the referees along with turnovers and a struggling offense led to the demise of the Pride, who found themselves unable to find their groove until the closing quarter.
The consistent defensive pressure from the Bears proved to be enough as they forced Pitman to essentially play out of rhythm along with an offense that shot efficiently.
A shaky start didn’t ease up for the Pride, who were down by 20-plus points for most of the game and it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the offense began to settle as they outscored the Bears 11-6—but by then it was too late.
“I think our guys got more comfortable near the end but after being on a nine game winning streak we kind of got a wakeup call that we must continue to work hard,” Marable said. “It took us a while before we recognized that we could play with them, but by that time it was too late already.”
Cyle Williams and Branson Garcia led the way offensively despite the struggles, as they amounted 15 and nine points each, respectively.
“We are going to take some information from this game and add it to what were building on and continue that momentum, get back on track again,” Marable said.
The Pride will look to bounce back from the CCC loss when they travel to Atwater with tip off set at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday.