Pitman High (2-5) and Ripon (5-2) High met in a much-anticipated matchup in the semifinal round of the Godinez Tournament on Friday night that ended better than how it began.
While the Pride started strong, the Indians battled back after going down 22-5 early in the opening quarter and cut the lead to 37-22 by the half.
After cutting the lead to seven by the start of the fourth, Ripon, with the help of Cole Stevens and Aaron Paschini nearly made a comeback, making it a two-possession game but Pitman’s effort was too much as they held on to the 63-57 win and surged into the Godinez Championship game.
“We came out with a little lack of intensity. We played zone in the beginning and then we switched to man, took some time to adjust and we weren’t as aggressive and they took advantage of that,” said Ripon coach Rod Wright.
“I think we've been playing defensively consistently ...so I think it’s sticking to what we do,” said Pitman coach Harvey Marable about the Pride's win.
Ripon struggled from the line and was 13-of-25 from free-throws as opposed to Pitman’s 15-of-21 effort.
“Our Achilles is the free-throw line, we can’t shoot them to save our lives, this is the worse free-throw shooting team I have ever had,” said Wright.
Aaron Paschini topped all scorers with a game-high 27 points and Pitman’s Isaiah Marable led the Pride with 23.
“We were just trying to play our hardest in this game because we knew we played well the last time and it was just getting the right movement and playing good defense was key in this game,” said Isaiah Marable.
Cole Stevens of Ripon tacked on 21 points, but only five players scored for Ripon and as a team they shot 3-for-11 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter. The Pride were outscored by Ripon 15-14 but still held on for the win.
“In reality they were a bigger team, a little more physical and we had to match that physicality in the second and it took a little while,” Wright added.
Ripon will next take on Turlock at 4:30 p.m. today.