For the second time this season, the Turlock High and Pitman High girls basketball squads clashed in a back-and-forth battle on Thursday night, with the Bulldogs pulling away late to secure a 55-43 victory and gain an edge in Central California Athletic League standings.
Similar to their first meeting in December during the Pitman Holiday Classic preseason tournament, lights out shooting from Turlock’s Emilie Snyder was the catapult. The senior shot 6/12 from the field with five three-pointers, which was good enough for 20 points.
“We definitely executed what we’ve been working on in practice,” Snyder said. “That and the support from my team and my coaches is great… It’s nice to have that and they make things easier for me.”
One of those teammates providing support was Olivia Walker, who had four assists – three being to Snyder. Walker also showcased gritty defense, racking up four steals while crashing the boards for six rebounds. The junior guard’s hustle forced multiple jump-balls that led to her ending up on the hardwood on several occasions in the physically intense game between the crosstown rivals. After the game, she credited her father for her fearless attitude on the court.
“I just had to be strong with the ball, and that’s something my dad teaches me,” Walker said. “My dad always tells me to hold it, rip and then go and look at all my options. I had that in mind to stay with it and kick it out to my teammates like Emilie. We’re a faster team than them so that’s my mindset and what I was thinking.”
Pitman High head coach Parmine Randhawa also believes that the Bulldogs’ ability to make their free throws was also a major difference in the game, especially after her team fell behind late due to the flurry of three-pointers.
“It came back to the threes again. Once they hit those couple of threes, we struggled scoring on the other end and we ultimately had to play the fouling game, and they are really good at making free throws, so they sealed the game at the line at the end there,” said the first-year coach and Pitman High alumna. “It was a great game and they’re a great team. I always love playing against Turlock. Best of luck to them.”
Offensively for the Pride, freshman Dailynn Greener led all Pride scorers with 16 points. Junior guard Liz Webb also contributed with 12 points and three assists before she was forced to leave the game midway through the fourth quarter with a lower leg injury.
The loss not only halted the Pride’s winning streak at two games, but it dropped the reigning champion’s league record to 2-2, placing them at a tie for third place alongside Enochs High. For the Bulldogs, the win gives them sole possession of second place with a 3-1 CCAL record. All teams remain looking up at Gregori High, which currently stands alone in first place with an undefeated 4-0 league record.
“This win was super important,” said Turlock head coach Erica Hernandez. “We had a quick timeout talk about the league title being on the line here, and as soon as we talked about that, they went out and dominated. I’m just super proud of all of them.”
Walker shared similar sentiments, explaining how satisfying it is to jump Pitman in the standings.
“It feels really good to win especially since we lost to them last year,” said Walker, who was on last year’s varsity roster that went 3-7 in league play. “I’m just really proud of my team. We really fought till the end.”
Meanwhile, Snyder is already looking forward to next week when the Bulldogs face off against Downey High (1-2) at home and at Modesto High (0-4)
“Coach has been putting us through some good drills and that definitely helps us,” she said. “We’ll just keep on going to work.”
The Pride, on the other hand, will be on the road for both their games next week when they travel to Enochs (2-2) and Gregori (4-0).