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Pitman boys basketball off to best start in nine years
Pitman boys
Jacob Staton of Pitman High goes in for a shot attempt during the semifinal game of the 41st annual Godinez Tournament on Dec. 8. The Pride have now won three straight tournament victories Modesto City Tournament, Frank Godinez Memorial Tournament and the Oakdale Tournament. - photo by Journal file photo

The Pitman Pride varsity boys basketball team is off to the best start in program history since the 2008-09 (12-3) season, after posting a 12-3 record with 15 non-conference games under its belt heading into league play this week.

“Each team goes through its own maturation and you know what it’s all about, when you have good players, and they get along, good things happen that is the bottom line,” said Pitman head coach Harvey Marable.

Leading the Pride squad this year are four seniors in Dom Von Waaden, Christian Williams, Michael Anderson and Jacob Staton.

This is also the first time the Pride have won three tournament championships in a season.

“I just want to enjoy the ride and take it all in” said Marable about the strong start. “Add a freshman that is great and everyone is playing their roles and improving. Playing some teams during the summer and having success helped.”

The Pride’s tournament win streak starting at the four-day Modesto City Tournament on Dec. 2, with victories over Gregori, Enochs, Johansen then Modesto High in the final.

They followed up their strong start to the year with another tournament victory in this year’s Godinez Tourney at Turlock High that saw the Pride topple Ripon in the first round followed by a 20-point difference victory over Golden Valley, 67-47, on Dec. 8. Pitman ended the tourney run in the championship game against Turlock High, winning in a dominating 47-24 performance.

These two tournament trophies led to the Pride’s recent win at the Oakdale Rotary Classic this past weekend, where they went an undefeated 3-0.

They toppled Patterson in a close 49-45 decision on Wednesday, after a layoff of nearly two weeks, in their first win of the tournament followed by a convincing 67-41 victory over Downey on Thursday, setting up the title game on Friday.

Pitman met the Ripon Christian Knights for first place on Friday. The Pride managed to pull away 48-47, for their closest margin of victory on the year.

 “I think we have executed,” said Marable about their consistent start. “You can’t sustain a good season unless you have defense to stop some people and these guys understand what to do and they minimize the mental mistakes and they’ve done a great job.”

The Pride have only dropped two of their last 10 games and have notched four straight wins heading into the start of league play, their final season in the Central California Conference.

“I am sure there are six or seven teams that have the same mentality to win the CCC,” Marable added. “We are just one of them. We need to play to our capabilities and continue to be consistent, that consistency will fare when we go into league. We are taking care of one game at a time and see where we are.”

Pitman will open up league play in the Central California Conference, for the final year, against Atwater at home at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.