Pitman High (3-5) had something to prove heading into the 39th annual Godinez Basketball Tournament with a winless record.
It didn’t take long for the Pride to roll out of their early 0-5 slump to begin the new season. They began the tourney with a four-point win over Davis High on Thursday followed with a six-point victory over Ripon on Friday.
Then finally the Pride rolled into the championship game on Saturday against Kimball (4-5), which had beaten Turlock by 29 points the previous night, with a confidence in themselves that they could win and they followed through.
Pitman dominated from the tip-off as they ran down Kimball in the opening quarter to go up 18-5 and with a tremendous defensive effort, the Pride limited Kimball’s ability to do anything and they went on to defeat the Jaguars for the school’s third Godinez title, 55-28.
“This week we were going to find a way through, because the first few games we lost by a couple of points but we kept fighting,” said Pitman head coach Harvey Marable. “We took the next step since they couldn’t just spy on one guy, they had to worry about everyone.”
Kimball found it extremely challenging going up against a Pride team that was determined with their ability to play defense and as a team after they finished with five players who scored eight or more points for the game while committing only 11 turnovers for the game.
“We had to stick to fundamentals, coach always tells us not to be flashy and stick to fundamentals, so it’s what we had to do and I feel we did it pretty well in this game,” said Pitman’s Micah Millentree, who finished with a game-high 15 points and added 5 rebounds and a steal. “Our defense really helped.”
Jando Diaz (9), Chris Hanham (8), Isaiah Marable (8) and Gurman Takhar (10) were the others who were effective on the offensive end, but it was a complete effort from the entire squad on defense that really led to the successful night.
“We watched their previous game and we saw they were a high-energy team and we told ourselves in the locker room to settle down, and no turnovers and stop them on defense,” said Hanham.
After allowing just five points in the opening quarter, Pitman followed it by holding Kimball to just 17 first half points.
The containment continued for the Pride as they held Kimball to just four points in the fourth quarter after they outscored them 9-4 to close out the game with majority of the bench in.
“It was definitely challenging. We came in with the mentality that it is championship week and that was the goal, we had to work to get there,” said Millentree. “It kind of gives us that excitement of ability because we know we had potential but now we showed we can do it.”
Diaz added 8 rebounds, 10 assists and a pair of steals. Chris Hanham finished with 2 rebounds, an assist and 2 steals. Takhar tacked on 6 rebounds an assist and 3 steals.
“We feel we can compete with anyone. We all just came together this weekend, good start for something great,” Hanham added.
Godinez All-Tourney Team
Michael Hayes – West
Cole Stevens – Ripon
Aaron Paschini – Ripon
Chris Hall – Kimball
Micah Millentree – Pitman
Talolo Limu-Jones – Davis
Most Outstanding Player – Isaiah Marable (Pitman)
Most Valuable Player – Jando Diaz (Pitman)