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Pride pull off 4th quarter victory in preseason matchup
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Pitman High's Cady Riley attempts a shot against Hilmar High during a preseason game on Monday in Turlock. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

The Trans Valley League met the Central California Conference on the court Monday in a girls’ basketball showdown between Pitman and Hilmar High that proved to be a tight match until the closing quarter.

It was anybody’s game going into the fourth, but the Pride rose to the occasion and went on an offensive run to close it out 57-47 against a ‘Jackets team that had won their first two games to start the season.

“It was a competitive and close game all the way through,” Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss said. “We played even in the third, and in the fourth was when we were sort of able to outscore them.”

With the score 40-37 going into the final quarter, the ‘Jackets knew they needed to continue their consistent play with effective passing and high percentage shots to stay in the game. However, turnovers and missed shots proved to be costly against a tough Pride squad.

“We had a hard time getting into a rhythm in the fourth,” Hilmar head coach Don Inman said. “We just couldn’t get in a shooting rhythm and we had a lot of turnovers. We wore down because it was very fast paced on both sides; we need to get in a position to finish off games better.”

The Pride took advantage of the miscues by Hilmar and countered as they outscored the 2-0 ‘Jackets, 17-10, in the closing minutes to cruise into victory lane.

“Pitman played a good game,” Inman said. “I think this is a game we can learn a lot from, we will watch film and we will take some insight and hopefully use it to inspire us and we hope to make changes that must be made.”

Posting an impressive outing for the ‘Jackets was Rebecca Sanders, who found the free throw line on numerous occasions and led her team in scoring with 16 points.

After the win, the Pride snap their two-game losing streak as junior Cady Riley led the way with three assists, five rebounds, three steals and a game-high 24 points, 12 of which came in the fourth quarter alone.

“We had a week of tough practices and the girls showed that their hard work really, actually works,” Curtiss said. “Hard work is paying off and they are very impressive and in their ability to get better.”

The ‘Jackets will travel on Thursday to take on Monterey High. This will be followed by the Pacific Classic with games set for Friday and Saturday. Pitman will host Turlock Christian at 6 p.m. on Dec. 18.