Pitman High’s gym was packed Wednesday night as students, teachers and parents from both schools filled the stands to watch the Pride (4-1 CCC) and Bulldogs (3-2 CCC) face off. It was the second meeting of the season but the first league matchup for the two teams who entered the game in a three-way tie with Buhach Colony High for first place in the CCC.
Like their previous game, Wednesday’s matchup was a rollercoaster ride of emotion, full of lead changes and spectacular plays. Unlike the last game, an extra four minutes was needed to declare a winner.
There were a total of seven lead changes and five ties Wednesday night. Turlock took the first lead as Alek Carlson (18 points) scored three points early in the first. The Pride quickly overtook Turlock, scoring 10 unanswered points in six minutes. A three point shot and an inside layup from Carlson, who scored all the points in the first quarter for Turlock, brought the Bulldogs within four points of Pitman at the end of the first quarter.
Turlock briefly retook the lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter but the inside play of Pitman’s Grayson Kennedy put the Pride up once again. Finally, with 2:45 left before the half, Turlock once again took the lead. A Skyler Sexton (15 points) layup with 11 seconds on the clock brought Pitman within a point of Turlock. The two teams left the court at halftime with Turlock up 21-20.
The third quarter was split, with Pitman owning the first five minutes and Turlock coming back to take the final three. The Pride utilized a fast paced offensive attack with Ryan Keaton (10 points) and Trevor Pata (13 points) to take a seven-point lead over the Bulldogs. Pitman’s defense was effective in frustrating Turlock and trapping them in the corners of the court for some time. Spurred by free throw shots and a no looker finger roll by Dashawn Holcombe (10 points) at the buzzer, Turlock tied the game 30-30 and gave the Bulldogs some much-needed momentum going into the fourth quarter.
The crowd pleasing finger roll by Holcombe energized the Bulldogs as they began to pile on the points. With 24 seconds left in regulation, Turlock held a seven point lead and looked to be on its way to a victory. Unfortunately for Turlock, Pitman never stopped believing in their ability to win. A foul put Sexton at the free throw line where he made both shots, cutting Turlock’s lead to five. On the subsequent inbounds pass Pata intercepted the basketball and broke for the basket, making a layup and cutting the lead to three. Finally, with 11 seconds on the clock Zach Olson drained a three point shot in dramatic fashion to tie up the game once again and send the teams into overtime with a score of 42-42.
“They continued to move the ball, continued to believe in each other and make plays down the stretch,” Pitman’s assistant coach Undrea Walker said. ”We play until the buzzer sounds.”
Both the Pride and Bulldogs alternated between dominating on defense and struggling on offense the entire game but Pitman got the best of the ebbs and flows, peaking when it counted most. Sexton, Keaton and Pata helped Pitman outscore Turlock 16-8 in the overtime period and secure their second win over the Bulldogs this season. The win positioned the Pride next to Buhach at the number one spot in the CCC.
“Turlock is a well-coached team but the ball happened to bounce our way. We had a little bit of luck, but also the will to win at the end of the game,” Walker said. “Coach Harvey and I are very pleased with our progress but there’s still a lot of work left in us.”
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.