Pitman High welcomed the visiting Downey Knights to its home court with open arms Friday night—arms that were used to rebound, force turnovers, and drain baskets.
The Pride put on a defensive show in their most dominating performance of the season—and perhaps the last two years—as they virtually shut down Downey’s offense en route to a 50-21 victory.
“The only thing I care about is that we’re improving. Our defense is a lot better than it was in the beginning of the season,” Pitman head coach Harvey Marable said. “At this point we’re finding that we’re building a foundation where we can compete with other teams and play day in, day out. I like it.”
Pitman’s sixth pre-league victory was forged in the first half as its boys scored 30 points while holding Downey to only six points. The trio of Cyle Williams, Gurvinder Uppal, and Aaron Mayfield harassed the Knights relentlessly as they dominated the boards and turned Downey’s misfortune into frequent scoring plays.
“That’s one area we worked on and to see it manifest itself tonight, that’s good,” Marable said of his team’s rebounding. “Forced turnovers, that’s just icing on the cake because that’s not something we’re known for. We did play real well and that did happen tonight, but the rebounding portion is one area where we’ve been struggling. The guys understood that and we’re getting better.”
Downey picked things up in the second half, but no amount of will could lift its boys over the Pride. With a comfortable lead and the game in hand, Pitman looked to its bench to finish out the game and earn valuable minutes of experience.
“We were never in that position last year, so it was new territory for me. Our biggest thing was that whoever was going out there— whatever the score was— that we still wanted to maintain the same level. We’re not going to take a break because the score's not close; we expect everyone to compete whether it’s a one point game or it’s 20,” Marable said.
Mayfield finished the night with four steals while Jas Thiara notched a total of seven rebounds on the night. In all, Pitman forced 11 turnovers.
Offensively, Branson Garcia continued his reign as the Pride’s leading scorer with 15 points, which included four treys.
With the winless Knights vanquished, Pitman must now prepare for the upcoming Oakdale Tournament.