Pitman High started off Tuesday night’s game well but failed to carry it through the entire four quarters of play.
It was a great first five minutes when Pitman went up 9-0, including Katie Willett’s first three of the year.
All looked great and dandy for the Pride until they came back from a timeout called by Merced then the momentum shifted—like a switch.
Before the Pride knew it, Merced had gone up 22-18 at the halfway mark and followed it with a consistent third and fourth, finally ending the game with a 54-47 win.
“I don’t know if it was just them, but it was a team effort which was the frustrating part,” said Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss. “They just outworked us, the first time we lost like that. They just outhustled us and we need to get back to work tomorrow and get back to what we are doing.”
Pitman has now lost two of its last three Central California Conference matchups.
All the seniors started for coach Curtiss but it didn’t matter as Merced was playing with a fury they didn’t have in their first meeting of the year when Pitman won 53-41.
There was just something different this time, but coach Curtiss couldn’t explain it.
“Going to Merced and beating them the first time might have given us some overconfidence maybe,” said Curtiss.
After the third, Merced was up 36-29 and controlled the tempo of the game for the remaining 27 minutes of the game.
“We just couldn’t keep it going, they simply played better than us in every facet of the game,” said Curtiss. “They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect, but our effort was not where it needs to be, but theirs was great and ours was not. They were doing all the things better than us tonight.”
Lexi Thompson knocked in 15 points and Symone Gilliams finished with 13 points.
Pitman’s top scorer was Kaylin Randhawa with 14 points and Dezmine Washington finished with 11 points.
“We spoke of lack of effort after the game and if that doesn’t give you an incentive to play better I don’t know what will,” said Curtiss. “But we will face adversity the team does well responding so I think we need to get our energy back to where it belongs and be ready for the next one.”