Every time Pitman High (7-7 CCC) and Turlock High (10-4 CCC) have stepped onto the same basketball court this season those in attendance have been treated to highly entertaining and extremely competitive games. Monday’s matchup, the fourth meeting of the season and third in the CCC, once again delivered the drama as Turlock squeaked by Pitman in the final seconds,47-46.
“It seems like every game with us goes down to crunch time,” Turlock’s head coach Doug Cornfoot said.
After three quarters of lead changes and emotional play the cross town rivals found themselves tied 41-41 with less than four minutes left on the clock. After momentarily dropping the lead Turlock fired back with two Alek Carlson (15 points) free throws and a Dashawn Holcombe (8 points) layup to take a one point lead with 1:34 left to play. For more than a minute after Turlock took the lead players from both teams scrambled all over the court in a mad dash for the basketball, hoping to hold the ball in their hands in the final moments. With 15 seconds left Pitman’s Zack Olsen (6 points) snatched the ball and sprinted down court, scoring the go ahead layup and prompting a Bulldog time out, the score was 46-45.
“We told them we’ve been in this situation before,” Cornfoot said.
Turlock’s plan was simple, get the ball to Carlson and go from there. With three seconds left to decide the game Carlson drove for the basket, drew a foul, and stepped up to the free throw line as Turlock’s student section chanted, “MVP.”
Carlson sunk his first shot, and after a Pitman time out, sunk his second shot leaving the Pride stunned and sending the Bulldog faithful into hysterics.
“It’s a lot of pressure but it feels good because I know I can make my free throws,” Carlson said.
“He’s been a clutch free throw shooter for us all year,” Cornfoot said.
Both teams scored 25 second half points and there were 11 lead changes in total during Monday’s game. The Pride held the biggest lead of the night when they led by eight points late in the third quarter.
Turlock’s victory keeps them a game behind league leaders Golden Valley High (10-3 CCC), who the Bulldogs will host today. The Cougars have bested the Bulldogs each time they’ve played this season, making tonight’s matchup for the CCC title that much more exciting.
“Golden Valley’s beat us twice; we need to have our best game of the year,” Cornfoot said. “They do everything well so we can’t have any mental breakdowns.”
“We have to come out tough and play our game,” Carlson said.
Pitman faces Buhach Colony High (9-4 CCC) today at home. The Pride will be looking to finish their season with a win after losing three straight.