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Pitman girls top Atwater
Pride take two game lead for 2nd in CCC
Pitman girls pic
Cerah Moren, pictured here at an earlier season game, finished with a game-high 21 points on Thursday to help her Pride notch a victory over the Atwater Falcons. - photo by Journal file photo

Pitman High's varsity girls basketball team solidified their second place spot, for now, in the Central California Conference after an exciting turn of events that occurred on Thursday night in Atwater.


The Pride traveled to Atwater High to take on the Falcons after a dominating performance in their first encounter back in Jan. 12, but this time the Falcons were ready for the Pride.


With 39 seconds left in regulation, only four points were the difference between Atwater and Pitman, but Cerah Moren took matters into her own hands, after a miss in her first attempt, she hustled to get the boards and put it in her second chance bucket, solidifying the 50-46 road victory.


“Merced on Tuesday that is next for us, right now it doesn't look too bad but we still have some games to win,” said Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss, whose team improves to 5-2 in the CCC and 14-6 overall.


After Thursday's win, Pitman has won six of their last seven and hold a two game lead over Merced, Turlock and Atwater, all of which are 3-4 with only three games left in league.


“We hold our own destiny now,” said Curtiss. “We only have three games left, it's all we are guaranteed, if we can get a fair amount then we can play more, we don't want to lose the seniors yet and only way to do it is to keep winning ball games.”


Pitman was up 15-12 after the first, then followed up with the hottest quarter of the night after going on a 16-8 run to close out the second, going up 28-20, with their ability to outrun the Falcons.


“They are very good at offensive rebounds and trapping because they have some good post players so we took it as an advantage to see if they could run with us,” said Curtiss.


One of the most effective players of the night was Moren, who finished with a game-high 21 points. Scoring 10 in the first half and 11 in the second.


Alize Tyler and Dezmine Washington each came into the second half for Pitman and made a difference on the defensive side, forcing turnovers and grabbing second opportunity rebounds.


Katie Willett, who was a difference maker for Pitman throughout the night, tallied a dozen rebounds and finished with six points and four blocks.


“Katie (Willett) had a huge night rebounding as well,” said Curtiss. “She was all over the boards, last few games she has really attacked the glass, getting a ton of boards for us. She was great in the paint, doing a great job rebounding and in that area.”


Pitman never trailed for the remainder of the game despite Atwater's aggressive attacks in the second half that set up a four-point difference in the closing minute.


“The second half it was a back and forth battle, the opposite of the GV game,” said Curtiss. “We were on that end tonight, but the second quarter was huge for us, we ended up winning because the rest of the quarters we were even for the most part.”


The Pride's next game will be their final home league game of the season against Merced at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.


“It is also senior night for us on Tuesday, so all emotions will hopefully turn into a good thing for us,”  Curtiss added.