It wasn’t looking good for Pitman High’s boys basketball team when they hosted Merced High Wednesday night. The Pride’s first half was a slow one chocked full of missed shots and turnovers. Despite the rough start Pitman was able to battle back after halftime and defeat the Bears 57-44.
“Merced is a lot better than their record. They came out with a high level of intensity that we didn’t match (in the first half),” Pitman’s assistant coach Undrea Walker said. “We just happened to have a better second half.”
Merced’s athleticism was on full display from the start of the game. The Bears used their speed and passing skills to disorient Pitman, finding and making open shots. Merced outscored Pitman in the first two quarters, taking advantage of a team that seemed unfocused and indecisive. By halftime the Bears led 29-18.
“We were not happy with their effort in the first half,” Walker said.
When the third quarter started Pitman looked like a team transformed. Back-to-back three point shots from Skyler Sexton sparked a run of 18 unanswered points by the Pride. Merced didn’t score its first points of the half until the last minute of the third quarter and only managed to score 15 points before the game ended. Pitman, on the other hand, racked up 39 second half points.
“If they can make consecutive stops their confidence starts to build and then the shots become easier,” Walker said.
By the end of the game the Bears were left frustrated and disheartened. Several players lost their composure and Pitman scored its last 16 points off Merced fouls.
“The team has its goals and winning at home is one of them,” Walker said. “We came back, got refocused and played an outstanding second half.”
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.