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PREP ROUNDUP: Pride bow out of playoffs against lengthy Monterey Trail team
Pitman boys basketball
The Pride’s Justin Anderson (pictured here during an earlier season game) racked up 16 points during Pitman’s 66-57 SJS Division 1 playoff loss to Monterey Trail on Wednesday (ALEX MORALES/The Journal).

Twenty-one points from junior Avery Sanchez and another 16 from senior Justin Anderson was not enough to keep Pitman’s season alive as they fell to the Monterey Trail Mustangs (Elk Grove) by a 66-57 score Wednesday night in the first round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 boys basketball playoffs.

The No. 15 seed in the D-1 bracket, the Pride (21-7) struggled mightily with the length of No. 2 Monterey Trail, who have five players (including three in their starting rotation) standing 6-foot-5 or taller. After hanging in there with the Mustangs after a quarter of play with the game knotted at 22, the Mustangs snagged over 10 offensive rebounds that resulted in points to pull away. The Pride were outscored 17-12 in the second quarter, 15-12 in the third and 12-11 in the fourth.

“The biggest difference was their size and how aggressive they were in going after offensive rebounds. We knew going in that it was going to be the determining factor of how we can stay in the game. We have a starting five where I don't have anyone taller than me,” said the 6-foot-3 Marable.

Sanchez had 11 rebounds to go along with his 21 points. Nine came from behind the arc as the Pride totaled seven three-pointers off of 15 attempts by game’s end, while the Wildcats had their way in the paint, leaving almost every possession with points.

While their season has come to a close, Marable praised his team for buying into his coaching philosophy and being motivated to get better every week over the course of the year, which helped lead them to a 9-1 record in the Central California Athletic League and their first league title since 2021.

“Last year, we implemented a system that they were all introduced to for the first time. This year they had that foundation and understanding of what we were doing and were able to expand on it. That seems like the biggest thing,” he explained. “I have just been blessed in my coaching years to witness these kids buying into what we're doing and giving their best. I couldn't ask for anything more.”

Of the 12 players on their roster, only two are graduating this summer — Anderson and Jaden Aghoustin. Marable thanked the two seniors for their dedication to the program and shared how he is looking forward to next season with several players with multiple years of varsity experience on his roster.

“Jaden and Justin both had better seasons than the year before, which is always a big thing for me,” he said. “Justin has improved tremendously as a player and a person during his time here at Pitman. And in Jaden, he has always been looking for spots, and when he had an opportunity for a huge contribution, he stepped in and did it. I appreciate that from those guys. And for the guys coming back, it's nice to be in that position to work with kids who have the experience already. It just makes it easier for all newcomers to pick up what we're doing.”


Hughson girls basketball
Hughson four-year varsity starter Madi Duron finished with 21 points on Thursday in the Huskies’ 63-36 loss in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 playoffs against Riverbank (ALEX MORALES/The Journal).

Girls basketball: Huskies fall to Riverbank in quarterfinals

RIVERBANK — With just over three minutes left in the Hughson girls basketball season, head coach Tim May removed four-year varsity starter Madi Duron from the floor.

With the Huskies moments away from a 63-36 loss in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 playoffs, Duron sat at the end of the  bench and cheered on her teammates as if the outcome hung in the balance.

“I just love this team so much,” said Duron, whose per-game averages in scoring (14.5), rebounds (10.3), assists (3.6) and steals (5.0) were tops on the team.

“We’re always there for each other, on and off the court. And it means a lot to see them put out this kind of effort even though we’re down 20 or 30 points.”

Fifth-seeded Hughson (20-9) and No. 4 Riverbank (21-5) split their Trans-Valley League meetings in 2024, with each team winning at home. However, in the Huskies’ 58-44 win over the on Feb. 1, which allowed them grab a share of the TVL title along with Escalon, the Bruins were without the services of Taylor Macias, an 80 percent free-throw shooter who averages 10.7 points per game.

Macias is part of Riverbank’s “Big Three,” joining Chancis Gamez (13.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game) and Rayne Tago (13.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg).

Duron finished with 21 points, while the Big Three combined for 43 points. Tago contributed 20 of those.

“That’s a very good basketball team, and when they put that (full) team on the floor, they’re tough to beat,” said May. “I can deal with a loss as long as we put it all out there on the floor. We didn’t execute well tonight, but it wasn’t because of a lack of heart or lack of passion. And we can live that.”

Up next for the Bruins is a date with No. 1 Colfax, which defeated them 56-38 in last year’s D-4 championship game.

“For us, this next one’s a little personal,” said head coach Janelle Luu, a 2014 Riverbank graduate. “We have that mentality, not revenge, but just wanting to show them that, hey, we’re still here.”

It’s been 39 years since the Bruins’ last section title, and Luu would love to end the drought for her alma mater.

““I love these kids and I love this community,” said Luu. “Riverbank means something to me. And we want to be the best team in the section. That’s what drives us.”

As for Duron, the winter sports season may be over, but she’s ready to for a new challenge in the spring: tennis.

“It’s my senior year and I want to have fun,” said Duron, who also ran track and played softball in seasons past. “Not that track and softball weren’t fun, but my sister (Jessie) and my brother (Josh) played tennis. I love to experiment and I want the freedom to try something new.”


Girls soccer: Season ends for Pride

The season came to a close for the Pride as they were blanked in the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 playoffs.

Pitman (10-4-4) extended its season last week with a 2-1 double-overtime victory over Golden Valley (Merced). Freshman striker Jasmine De Alva had both goals in that win, including the game-winner with just over a minute remaining.

— Christopher Correa and Joe Cortez contributed to this report.