Pitman High’s Cyle Williams hit the go-ahead game-winning jumper against Central California Conference foe Buhach Colony at home on Friday night in the closing seconds of regulation in a match that ended tight at 52-50.
“I think these guys enjoy being with each other; they enjoy working together and I think that is the biggest reason why we are making strides as a team, because we get along,” Pitman head coach Harvey Marable said. “Just because Buhach only has three wins doesn’t mean they’re not good—their tough schedule has made them a lot better.”
The taller Thunder squad held the lead for majority of the game, with a strong performance in the paint against a Pride team that was out-rebounded 36-32.
A tough offensive outing led to great defensive play from Pitman, despite the team's struggles from the field shooting only 10-of-27 in the first half.
Leading the way defensively were Jas Thiara and Micah Millentree inside, along with Alex Diaz’ outstanding performance from the bench. Aaron Mayfield and Ethan Stinson added on a tough presence for the Pride, who were able to hold the Thunder to only 9 points in the final quarter.
“I think in the second half we got into our flow, defensively and offensively, and when we were doing that we took the lead and expanded a little bit, but when we went away from that it quickly evaporated,” Marable said.
With only 15 seconds left in the game, the inbound pass was directed to Williams in what coach Marable said was one of their usual plays and he looked around for a fellow teammate but instead found an open lane and worked his way inside as he dished up a 15-footer to seal the deal with less than five seconds left.
“The shot was actually one of our plays, so it wasn’t like I drew up anything special we just ran it during the game and it has options and Cyle made the right decision to score,” Marable said about the game-winning shot. “We just executed.”
The Pride held on in the final minutes of the game defensively and didn’t allow even a shot attempt as the clock ensured their win and an uproar from the crowd and bench exploded.
With league match-ups underway, the young Pride’s improvement continues as they are currently riding an eight-game winning streak after losing two straight prior to that and coach Marable feels they will continue to grow for the better.
“I've been saying all along that we're building or continuing to build on different areas of the game to get better as the season goes on...rebounding I feel was somewhere we took a step backwards and it was because of their size advantage and [they] were very physical in the paint and it shocked us a little bit,” Marable said.
“Everything about today was great—the attendance with the band, national anthem and students here, it was a good high school basketball atmosphere to see that today here in Turlock and to not happen in a rival game. Hopefully, we continue to see this.”
Williams led his team in scoring for the night as he tallied 18 points, along with five rebounds. Branson Garcia added on 12 points for the night and sophomore Alex Diaz totaled seven.
The Pride will travel to Livingston to take on the Wolves at 4 p.m. today.