With only one game left in preseason, the Pitman High boys basketball team was looking for any spark and they got that on Tuesday night after Branson Garcia knocked in 24 points to lead the Pride into a 66-38 home shellacking over Livingston and snap a three game losing.
“This win definitely gives us confidence heading into league so we are finding out things we are doing right now,” said Garcia, who finished with a game-high in points scored.
“You always feel better about a game after a win and we needed that because we have been dealing with rough waters lately,” Pitman head coach Harvey Marable said. “This is nice to see if we keep our heads up and keep working hard that good things will happen.”
To say it was a good thing is an understatement as the Pride head into their Central California Conference opener with a preseason record of 7-7.
Prior to the win, the Pride had lost their previous three contests by an average of 12 points but won this game by a 28-point margin of victory.
“Hopefully, it's a start of a winning streak, hopefully,” said Garcia.
The Pride got off to another slow start against Livingston after scoring just 11 points in the first quarter — but it did not last long.
A 21-0 run from the final seconds of the first into the halfway mark of the second scripted the story of the game as the Pride showed themselves to be the superior team for the night.
“Our defense was on tonight,” said Garcia. “At times we go down without a basket, but we come down and a get a stop then we are right back into it. We are not falling behind; we get a stop and we can just get our offense rolling.”
When Livingston's defense managed to hold off the Pitman's scoring, the Pride retaliated with fast break transitioning points and the first half ended with an 18-point lead at 37-19.
“We were really efficient tonight and getting easy layups helped,” Garcia said.
Garcia had 18 points in the first half and was without a doubt the difference maker on the court after leading all scorers with 24 points and added on three rebounds.
“I was just more aggressive to the ball,” Garcia said about his outstanding performance. “I demanded the ball more when I knew I was open and my teammates did a great job in finding me and dribbling over when I was open — I gotta give it to them for that.”
Pitman ended the second half with a 29-19 run and made it very difficult for the Livingston offense to strike a comeback with their combative style of play.
Pitman's league opener will be against the Cougars of Golden Valley at 7:15 p.m. Friday at GV.
“Our goal is to start a presence of how we will play right and starting with today. We had a bit of a spark against Lodi on Monday even though we came out on the short end of the stick, but we are a work in progress that continued today so that was good to see,” said Marable.