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Pride girls polo remains unbeaten after two
Lok drills buzzer beater to edge Gregori
Pitman girls water polo
Pitman High’s Joelle Lok (left) and Maddy Ngo (5) attempt a steal during a double team in Monday’s 6-5 win over Gregori High (EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal).

With nine seconds remaining, Pitman High’s Joelle Lok took the game into her hands. Lok drew a late foul and with her strength and accuracy, drilled the perfect upper 90 shot that clanked off the corner post and inside the back of the net to secure a thrilling 6-5 win over Gregori on Monday, which also marked the Pride’s first league win over the Jaguars.

“I was just thinking I have to get this done and get fouled, and she did foul me, one shot… I took it and thank God I made it,” said Lok.

“A main objective going into this season was to stay positive no matter what happened and to fight through anything, and I told these girls that if they keep fighting till the end, anything can happen, and obviously I am glad and happy with the outcome,” said Pitman head coach Michaela Richter.

The outcome was a one-goal victory, which also secured the Pride’s second straight league win the Central California Athletic League. 

Pitman was coming off a 9-3 win over Modesto High last Wednesday when they officially kicked off league play. 

“Realistically, we had a slow start against Modesto as well. We tend to be a second half team, which drives me absolutely crazy, but they never give up,” said Richter. “That is the thing with these girls, they are so team oriented, they support each other and it is never a negative thing even when they go down and I knew they would fight till the end. I just didn’t think it would be so dramatic.” 

The Pride had to fight for every goal and every opportunity on Monday. 

Gregori scored first in the opening quarter, before Pitman notched a pair of goals in the second quarter to take a 2-1 lead at halftime. 

With 3:58 in the third quarter, Pitman went up 3-1. By the end of the third, Gregori had taken a 4-3 lead. 

Down 4-3, Pitman knew they needed to respond immediately. 

The Pride continued to press and look for fast-break opportunities, but the turnovers proved costly and they had limited chances until the final seconds. 

With under three minutes left, and down 5-3, Pitman buckled down and drastically changed things. 

With just over 97 seconds remaining, Pitman cut the lead to 5-4 in the game and then with 16 seconds remaining, they tied it at 5-5. 

With under 16 seconds left, and on the verge of overtime, Pitman’s defense managed to get a steal and one final timeout was called. 

With just under 10 seconds left, Lok took matters into her own hands as she worked the defender and struck a long perfect shot to win it on a buzzer beater, handing Gregori their second straight league loss. 

“This is a huge win for us, because last year we lost to Gregori twice. This is a huge confidence booster and a really big deal for us,” said Lok. 

“I think and believe that if we play how we did in the second half of this game, for sure we should be top three,” said Richter. “I would like to get a quicker start, but get out there and put some points early, but I think Gregori did a great job and their girls came out ready to play and definitely took it to us. I got a little nervous, but I trust in our girls, and they trust in each other and that is all I could ask for.” 

The Pitman girls are now 7-4 overall and 2-0 in the CCAL. 

The next game for the Pride will be a road contest at Downey High at 3 p.m. Wednesday.