The Pitman High girls basketball players couldn’t help but cringe once they noticed they were on the wrong end of a lopsided score Thursday night at the Lion’s Den.
Coach Keith Larsen called a timeout to chew out his team. The girls took it stoically.
It was as if they jumped into their superhero phone booths, put on their invisible capes and came out as different players, flying around the court in unstoppable fashion.
The Pride held the Buhach Colony Thunder to just two baskets in a span of about 15 minutes — a punch-in-the-gut type of run in an eventual 54-31 turnaround win, thanks mostly to a 31-point performance by senior guard Jasmine Washington.
The Thunder exploded for a 10-0 surge early in the first quarter to shock the Pride with a 12-4 advantage. It caused Larsen to call a timeout in which he sat his players down and told them they weren’t getting it done. He said the lackadaisical start might’ve been the side effect of Tuesday’s 52-15 demolishing of Golden Valley High.
“We were up 21-nothing after the first quarter against Golden Valley,” said Larsen, whose previous job was coaching the Cal State Stanislaus men’s basketball team, “and I think they relaxed a little bit, thinking they might’ve been a better defensive team. Basically, I just reminded them: ‘Hey, listen. We gave up zero points in the first quarter on Tuesday.’”
After the speech, the Pride (12-4 overall, 4-0 CCC) turned it up with an in-your-face fullcourt press that the Thunder (8-8, 1-3) couldn’t handle. Pitman got most of its points from turnovers and fastbreak opportunities, finishing up the first half with a 31-14 edge.The Pride got up 45-19 by the fourth quarter, allowing Larsen to let his reserves loose.
“Our defense is one of our strong points,” said speedy guard Marz Meza, who was vital in the Pride’s numerous runs. “We move our feet and we try and talk it up as much as we can.”
Meza finished with four points, Parmine Randhawa added six and Morgan Renshaw contributed with five, as the trio and their other teammates collectively shut down the Thunder for most of the game.
The Pride will now look forward to hosting Tuesday night’s clash with another undefeated league team in Turlock High, the three-time defending CCC champion. The Bulldogs haven’t submitted a conference loss in three seasons, with their last loss coming — ironically — to Pitman.
“We been taking it one game at a time, but now that it’s here, the girls are like, ‘OK, we can’t come out like we have been,’” Washington said, referring to the team’s habit of starting out slow. “I think we’re all pumped for that game. It’ll be a challenge and it’ll show our true character. We have to dig deep on that game. Those girls are not playing. I know they’re going to bring it just as hard, because they’re our crosstown rivals.”
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