It was a festival of fouls Tuesday night when the girls of Pitman High stepped onto the court in Bulldog Arena to face Turlock High. The Bulldogs (4-1 CCC) defeated the Pride (3-2 CCC) in their first meeting of the season 37-27, finishing second in the first round of CCC matchups.
Pitman tried to establish an inside presence with Alex DiChari early in the game, scoring three points in the opening minutes of the first quarter. Turlock’s defense forced turnovers soon after the Pride’s opening points and quickly established itself as the team’s strength in the game. Turlock’s offense then took the lead with nine unanswered points, working the paint aggressively. Pitman’s plan to plant DiChari inside seemed to have been abandoned early and the Pride had difficulty finding the basket with their shots. Despite a sloppy first half, Pitman only trailed by four points at halftime, 20-16.
“The first half we weren’t as focused as we could be,” Turlock’s head coach Salinda Mabie said. “They refocused at halftime.”
In the second half Turlock increased the tempo, creating a highly physical environment for the two teams. Bodies fell to the court and fouls were called on a consistent basis, leading to a combined 32 trips to the free throw line for both teams.
Pitman’s frequent free throw misses were the biggest problem for the team as they missed 14 shots from the line in the first half and seven in the second half. Even though the Bulldogs had their fair share of missed free throws, they were able to make 10 shots from the line.
“That’s big improvement for us, free throws have been tough for us this year,” Mabie said. “The team that shot the best at the free throw line won, I think that was the difference of the game.”
Pitman was able to come within eight points of the Bulldogs early in the fourth quarter, but Turlock’s defense continued to frustrate the Pride, ensuring a Turlock win.
Turlock’s next game will be on Thursday when they host Buhach Colony High, the number one team in the CCC. Pitman will face Merced High as they continue to chase a top spot in the CCC.
To contact Frankie Tovar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.