In their final season competing in the Central California Conference, Turlock and Pitman High varsity girls basketball went out on top, earning bragging rights as two of the top three teams in league after they concluded their season on Tuesday night from the Pride’s gym.
Coming in, Turlock had already secured a playoff spot and the CCC title for the second straight year, while Pitman, which has been hampered by injuries, needed a victory to try and earn the third and final postseason berth in league.
What transpired was a shocker as the Pride went on to defeat the Bulldogs in a 48-44 final, clinching their third consecutive playoff berth.
“I told them today to just go out and play and have fun and if it works out it does and if it doesn’t, then that is okay, just go play,” said Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss. “Coming in, obviously, we had higher goals of winning league and stuff like that, but dealing with all the injuries and things happening and still get to go 7-5 and still get in the playoffs, it’s a testament to the character we have on this team.”
“Anytime you come into this game, you throw the records out the window because it is a rivalry game,” said Turlock head coach Mark Musselman. “Because it is a pride thing, but our defense wasn’t very good in the first half because we gave up the most points we have given up in a half this year.”
Pitman dropped 15 points against a stingy Turlock in the first quarter alone and led 32-18 at the half.
“Made some adjustments at halftime, and girls worked hard and brought it back within reach. Certainly, my technical didn’t help, we just came up short, Pitman came out on top,” said Musselman.
By the end of the third, the Pride led 38-31 after a rough quarter.
Pitman, anchored by Sydney Smith’s game-high 16 points, proved to be enough along with a solid performance from senior captain Kaylin Randhawa, who scored 11.
Turlock was dealing without their star in Jaydon Williams, who has been out with an ACL injury.
Pitman was playing without junior shooter Gracie Alves, but still came out with the victory after dropping seven free throws in the final quarter.
Turlock is advancing to the postseason for the second straight year and are 21-3 in their final two seasons in the CCC.
Claire Fountain finished with seven and six players scored for the Pride.
Sarah Musselman led all Bulldog scorers with 13 points. MacKenzie Ussery had 11 and Jada Washington finished with eight points.
Pitman ends the year with an overall record of 16-11 and 7-5 in their final year in the CCC.
Turlock caps off their regular season at 21-5 overall and 11-1 in the CCC.
Both advance to the Division I Sac-Joaquin Section Tournament with opponents and times yet to be determined. For more information visit cifsjs.org.