The struggles continue for Pitman High’s girls basketball team. After finishing 9-8 in pre-league play, the Pride have since dropped their first three Central California Conference matchups, with the most recent loss coming at the hands of Atwater High in a 51-37 final on Thursday.
Pitman’s roster is young and fairly inexperienced when it comes to varsity competition. Their play is reflective of that as the girls’ lack of execution has been the leading factor in their losses. On Thursday, an inability to defend against Atwater’s perimeter shooting and the failure to drop their shots—from both inside and outside the paint— proved to be the death nail for the Pride.
“We didn’t play real well to start the game. We played a little better in the third and fourth quarters, but we had a really slow start,” head coach Dustin Curtiss said. “They made shots. They kind of got on us right away, they knocked shots down, and we kind of got into that constant fight back mode trying to climb up a hill we can’t climb up yet.”
The Falcons surged to a 19-6 lead by the end of the first quarter with the help of four treys. While Atwater was adding to their total, Pitman was toiling on offense to no avail as a steady stream of turnovers limited their opportunities and put a wrench in its offensive game plan.
So far, Pitman is averaging 30 turnovers a game in the CCC.
“We’re turning the ball over way too much to be successful. When we have 30 turnovers, that’s 30 possessions down the drain where we’re not getting anything,” Curtiss said. “We’re also having a lot of trouble making open shots and a lot of trouble getting open shots. Then when we get them, we miss them.
“That aspect has to be cleaned up for us to be successful in league,” Curtiss added.
But despite their slow start, the Pride were able to up their competitive level in the second, third, and fourth quarters as they nearly matched Atwater’s offensive output before outscoring its girls 13-9 in the final quarter. Much of the Pride’s second half success was aided by Estephanie Torres who finished the game with a team high nine points.
“I think the girls’ confidence is a little low right now, so if we can get their confidence back I think things will start flowing the way they should,” Curtiss said.
Pitman will look to get things moving in the right direction and snap a three-game losing streak on Tuesday when it travels to Golden Valley High to face the Cougars, a 1-2 team in league with room to exploit on the court.
“We got to look at everything; we’re in a rut and we have to figure out a way to get out of it,” Curtiss said. “The ultimate goal, obviously, is win the next game. But we’re still shooting for playoffs which was our goal coming into the year. With the new playoff system we just have to finish in the top three, and that’s something we can still do. We just got to start playing better ASAP.”