As they walked out of their locker room on their way to greet waiting family and friends, smiles were painted all over the faces of the Pitman High boys basketball players and coaches.
The Pride are doing the unexpected.
After pounding the Atwater Falcons with a 56-40 win on Friday night inside its own gym, Pitman is now 2-0 in the Central California Conference. It’s a mark that Pride coach Harvey Marable couldn’t have imagined when he saw that his roster was made up of 12 juniors and just three seniors.
“Who would have thunk it?” he playfully joked. But he then went into serious mode: “I’m overjoyed because it brings new energy to the players to continue to compete. It’s showing that the hard work is playing off after going through a lot.”
The Pride were in charge from the beginning, highlighted by the fact that they had their biggest lead of 21 points early in the third quarter. Pitman, however, let that advantage slip to 11 by the fourth, but the players insisted that no one panicked despite the circumstances.
It was a nice encore after beating defending CCC champion Merced High on Wednesday, which wasn’t finalized until Matt Brodhag’s put back with 20 seconds left gave the Pride the 45-43 win.
How does it feel to be 2-0?
“It changes your whole atmosphere,” said senior center David Gianesin, who finished with nine points. “Everyone in the locker room is happy. It’s a great environment now. We need to keep it rolling.”
Alex Madden led the Pride (6-8 overall) with 18 points, including nailing four 3-pointers. He said his team’s game plan wasn’t to shoot from the outside, but “we’ll take the open shots when we have them.”
That mentality lifted the Pride to a 13-2 start, as they entered halftime with a 36-18 lead after Gianesin had his first career dunk at the buzzer — hyping up the crowd of a few hundred people.
Joe Madden, Alex’s brother, finished with 11 points and guard Zach Olsen added seven points.
The Falcons (5-9 overall, 1-1 CCC) cut a 21-point lead to just 47-36 with about 5 minutes left in the game, but the Pride stayed cool and calm enough to give themselves an undefeated record in the league.
“I don’t think we’re going to lose,” Gianesin said. “I don’t go into a game thinking, ‘We’re going to lose, we’re gonna go 0-15.’ No, we want to go 15-0. That’s what we want to do. That’s our motive.”
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