After squandering seven consecutive league games and the opportunity to make the postseason this year, the Pitman girls’ basketball squad had enough after back-to-back losses to the top two teams in the Central California Conference, Merced and Buhach Colony.
The Pride came out with a vengeance on Monday night against the fourth place Golden Valley and they powered their way through after a strong second half to pull away with a 34-26 win.
This was followed by a Tuesday matchup the following day at Atwater High, but the Pride were drained, having played four of the top teams in league in less than a week and they fell 46-26.
“We played four school days in a row… I told the girls if we can combine the way we played against Buhach and Merced then we could be ok. The girls knew they played hard against the top teams and knew they could beat (GV) and do it because all these teams are above us,” Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss said of the busy week.
With a win in league finally under their belt, the Pride are 1-8 in CCC and 9-17 overall with only their cross-town rivalry matchup left against Turlock on Tuesday.
In Monday’s win against the Cougars, the Pride started off with a rough patch in the first half and pulled within one by half at 19-18.
Pushing the ball and the ability to score late in the game — led by Mackenzie Hassett — helped the Pride take the lead by four going into the closing quarter.
An 8-0 run to begin the fourth shifted the momentum till the end as Hassett added on seven fourth quarter points to add to her 13 for the game and eight rebounds.
“Finally put it together on Monday. The way we had played the two games against Merced and Buhach gave us a lot of confidence, Curtiss said.
Katie Willett and Estephanie Torres each had six points against the Cougars along with 8 boards apiece.
“It was a tight game, it was nice to get it going in the second half, and Mackenzie had a great game. She played well the last few games and she is getting her stride going. She is getting more comfortable,” Curtiss said about Hassett.
Having lost to Atwater the previous meeting, but coming off their first league win, the Pride looked to upset the third-seeded Falcons, but the game didn’t turn out to their favor from start to finish.
“We didn’t play too well in the first half, we played better in the second. It just seemed that those four games in four days got to the girls, they just seemed tired,” Curtiss said.
The Pride were down nearly 20 by half with a score of 29-10 and the offense would struggle to find any groove as the Falcons downright beat-up the Pride.
“Atwater was aggressive and strong. They kinda took us off guard, plus I don’t think anybody played particularly well,” Curtiss said.
Gurneet Sangha led her team with eight points for the night adding on two three pointers and two free throws. The Pride were 8-of-30 from the field while the offense committed a staggering 32 turnovers.
“We didn’t make very many shots, we had a lot of turnovers, they were aggressive and took the ball a few times,” Curtiss said. “That’s how it went. They were in our face trapping and stealing. They were just stronger and more developed. It was an eye opener we need to put more work in the summer to improve.”
It was a close game when Turlock and Pitman met earlier in the year and this time shouldn’t be any different as the cross-town rivalry and final game of the season is set to begin at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday.