Pitman High’s Branson Garcia led all scorers with 27 points in the seventh place game of the Godinez tournament on Saturday against McNair.
Garcia and co. struggled in the opening quarter; but in the second, third and fourth—things rolled their way as they pulled out with a 65-51 win.
“There was just a different energy today. We were trying to turn it around cause we got a couple games down early in the tournament so I think the energy and my teammates, who found me when I was open, helped,” Garcia said.
The Pride weren’t leading all game, however, as they found themselves down just before the end of the first quarter, 11-13. Micah Millentree drained a buzzer beater to tie it and the game's momentum shifted to Pitman—permanently.
“We are not as experienced as some of the other teams we are playing and so we've got new pieces that are working together and it is just going to take some time,” Pitman head coach Harvey Marable said. “That’s what we want; we want to get better so when January comes around we are able to challenge.”
With just over a minute in the second, Pitman extended its lead to seven after back-to-back three pointers and a free throw put them up.
The Eagles would only come as close as three by the start of the third. Soon after the Pride escaped after continuing to rebound and allow second chance points led by Garcia, who tallied five of his seven rebounds in the second half along with three assists.
“I feel we can build off this by just staying physical and playing confident,” Garcia said. “My team also has a lot of confidence in me and, hopefully, I can consistently continue to play as aggressive and the way I have also offensively, just overall.”
Pitman’s Cyle Williams secured five second half rebounds to go with his 12 points, adding a tough defensive presence in the paint that helped secure the victory.
“When you’re open, you should knock down your shots and even when you’re an outside shooter,” Marable said.
The Pride’s second half defense shut down the Eagles offense as they contained them to a single free throw made, a major difference after allowing 33 attempts the period before.
Next, the Pride will host Downey High at 7 p.m. on Friday.