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Crusaders hold off Pride
PHS boys pic1
Justin Larsen breaks for the basket Tuesday night against Modesto Christian. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Pitman, Beyer, Modesto Christian and Ceres High all gathered together Tuesday for this year’s Ceres Basketball Tournament. Pitman (6-4) faced off against Modesto Christian (3-2) in the first game of the round-robin style tournament and was bested by the Crusaders 38-48.

“MC is one of those teams where you have to maximize your opportunities,” Pitman’s assistant coach Undrea Walker said. “The kids seemed to have the jitters, which is not common for how they’ve been playing.”

For the first half the Crusaders smothered Pitman’s offense with their size and speed, unnerving the Pride and forcing them to turn over the ball. At the end of the first quarter Modesto Christian led by only three points but by the time halftime arrived, Pitman was trailing 11-23.

“Offensively, we weren’t in the right position; we didn’t have the right spacing,” Walker said. “Defensively, we were solid; we just could not get it going offensively.”

After halftime the Pride hit the court with renewed vigor, pressing the Crusaders’ defense with high tempo play. Justin Larsen’s 12 second half points put the Pride within seven points of MC and opened up a handful of opportunities for a comeback. Pitman committed too many mistakes and missed too many shots at crucial moments of the fourth quarter though, and was unable to overcome the Crusaders.

“It was pretty much even in the second half, but we couldn’t overcome their athletic team,” Walker said. “They applied a lot of defensive pressure.”

Pitman faces Ceres High today in round two of the tournament and will play Beyer High on Thursday.

To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.