The Pride of Pitman High School faced off the Jaguars of Gregori High on Friday night in a varsity basketball matchup filled with Central California Athletic League implications. After defeating the Jaguars nearly two weeks ago, the 3-2 Pride once again handled business as they rolled to a 66-43 victory.
And while there were plenty of smiles and good vibes in the crowd at the Pitman High gymnasium after the game, they could’ve been a lot brighter, according to junior forward Justin Anderson.
“It doesn’t feel like a double-digit win if we’re being honest,” he said. “We made a lot of mistakes and weren’t executing some stuff that we need to.”
Though the Pride never relinquished their lead for the entirety of the game, turnovers and a lack of defense, particularly in the second quarter, helped the Jaguars keep hope alive. At halftime, the Pride only had a 10-point, 32-22 lead over their 1-4 league foe. Nevertheless, Pitman head coach Harvey Marable used the most of halftime. After the intermission, the Pride returned to their usual selves, outscoring the Jags 34 to 21 in the second half.
For the Pride, it was the usual trio of Anderson, Seth Vink and Avery Sanchez who led the way. Anderson led all scorers with 25 points while also racking up 3 assists, 4 rebounds and a steal. Meanwhile, Vink barely missed out on a double-double as he dropped 13 points while grabbing 9 rebounds. Sanchez pitched in with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
“They’re our Big 3,” Marable said. “On every team, you have guys who show up some days and not the others, but these three are guys who need to show up every game. They do so much for us all the time.”
Like Anderson, Vink shrugged off his stat line and acknowledged that pulling away from Gregori should’ve been easier and shouldn’t have taken until the second half. In Marable’s eyes, the blame falls on his shoulders.
“We’re still building to where we want to be,” he said. “We need to better when we play against tougher teams, but if they’re having problems out there even though we address it in practice, then that tells me that I need to do a better job at how they practice the defense and certain plays we draw up.”
The Pride will need to clean up their mistakes quickly. The Pride now sit as 4-2 in league played, tied with crosstown rival Turlock High in second place. Both teams are looking up at the Knights of Downey High who maintain an undefeated 6-0 record. The Pride will look to make their tune-ups against a struggling 0-6 Modesto High team on Wednesday before facing off against the Knights on Friday night.
“It’s definitely important that we take care of teams like this,” Anderson said. “Every game now is pretty much a big one.”