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Pitman speed tops taller team
Defense also key in victory over Sonora
Pitman boys bball pic3
Pitman High’s Trevor Pata drives against a Sonora High defender. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal

When going up against a boys basketball team full of giants, there’s really only one thing you can do.

Box out.

But to go out and actually execute that concept, that’s another thing. The Pitman Pride accepted this challenge and ended Tuesday night with a 44-40 win over visiting Sonora High in nonconference action. The Wildcats had five players listed over 6-foot-4, but they all fell to a quick Pitman team with 12 juniors.

“Sonora was tall,” said Pitman senior center David Gianesin, who, at 6-foot-4, managed to have a giant game with a game-high 13 points. “They were really tall. Obviously, I’m not taller than them so I had to use what I had against them, and that was my quickness. They were tall trees and I had to go around the trees.”

To start the third quarter, Gianesin was a one-man show. He scored six of his team’s first nine points during that rush, one that helped the Pride to a 30-22 lead after a back-and-forth first half. Sonora managed a late-game run, cutting the deficit to four points with 2 minutes left, but the Pride didn’t panic and improved to a 2-3 overall record.

Next up for Pitman is the Frank Godinez Tournament at Turlock High, where the Pride will face Davis High of Modesto in the first round game on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Pride coach Harvey Marable believes his team is gradually getting better, even though his squad is made up of underclassmen and three seniors.

“Our record doesn’t indicate how hard our guys play and how they’ve learned since they first started,” Marable said. “We’re talking about 12 juniors out here stepping into varsity and playing against the competition that we’re playing. They’ve come a long way.”

Besides a stingy defense that held the Wildcats to just three points in the third quarter, the Pride had plenty of offensive help. Alex Madden knocked in three 3-pointers, and Sklyer Sexton came off the bench to contribute 11 points.

Sonora’s big three of Tayler Thompson, Mark Relei and Alex Kiriluk, who are stood above 6-foot-4, combined for 25 of their team’s 40 points, though a good chunk of the scoring came late in the game during a mad rush to escape with a win. Pitman wouldn’t let that happen, even with a younger, smaller group.

“We felt very in control,” Gianesin said. “Toward the fourth quarter we took our time. They were trying to press us. They were trying to get us all flustered. But we were in control. We finished the game.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.