A matchup of champions took place Tuesday night between defending Central California Conference co-champs Pitman and Buhach Colony High. The Thunder (1-0 CCC), equipped with five returning starters from last season’s team, were favored as they entered Pitman’s gym but the Pride (0-1 CCC) quickly doused their confidence with a healthy dose of defense and inside shots.
As has been the case all season, however, Pitman failed to put the finishing touches on its performance and fell in overtime, 49-47.
“They got really hot. Their guards found open holes and knocked down the shots,” Pitman’s head coach Dustin Curtiss said of the Thunder. “We stopped being aggressive and settled for jumpers. We missed ours and they started making theirs.”
Before the Pride’s fourth quarter breakdown, they led Buhach for the entirety of the first half. Senior Alex De Chari dropped bucket after bucket from the post and nabbed a slew of rebounds while sophomore Cady Riley scored from the perimeter and senior Sam Gonzalez helped out on the boards to limit Buhach’s shots. Pitman’s up-tempo offense and solid rebounding put its girls up 28-17 at the half.
“We knocked down some shots in the first half and played really good defense,” Curtiss said.
The Pride’s dominant play continued in the third quarter where they led by as much as 17 points but Buhach’s Allison Wisdom and Brandy Coward covered the 17 point gap and helped the Thunder outscore Pitman 18-4 in the fourth quarter.
“We’re getting to that point; we just can’t get over that hump,” Curtiss said. “As we get to the end we panic and make quick decisions instead of the best decisions.”
After forcing overtime, Buhach outscored Pitman 10-8 to eke out the victory. It was Pitman’s third loss by three points or less.
“It’s a good sign we were able to fight with them,” Curtiss said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep fighting and we’ll get another shot at them at their place.”
Pitman gets its chance at its first CCC win on Thursday when it hosts Merced High at 7p.m.