The losing streak is finally over for the Pitman High (8-13, 1-6) girls’ basketball team after Thursday's Central California Conference showdown at home.
Pitman freshman Whitney Barnes's double-double helped the Pride secure a crucial 43-38 win over the visiting Atwater Falcons (15-8, 3-4) and snap their five game losing streak.
The tables turned in their second meeting of the year, especially since the score was the same as their first meeting—just reversed.
“We played them tough over there and after that loss and our losing streak it has taken some time to get our bearings back, but we felt like we could compete today,” Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss said. “That was the whole idea is that we’re trying to practice every day at a higher level and play like that and we did that.”
Barnes, who was kept in control in the first half, still managed to finish the game with 10 points, 13 rebounds and one block.
The other freshman, Kaylin Randhawa topped out with a team-high 11 points and three assists as the Pride won their first game since Jan. 10.
“I think tonight was a great example that hard work pays off because these girls, they have been working their butts off in practice but it hasn't shown in recent games,” Curtiss said. “Tonight they showed their progress.”
With Barnes as a force in the paint the Falcons were able to contain the powerful freshman in the first half but in the second the tables turned.
“I think she [Barnes] attracts a lot of attention when she is underneath the paint and she boards like a maniac,” said Curtiss. “She gets a lot of rebounds, but I think their game-plan was to stop her and we made some adjustments to move some players around and it worked for us in the second half.”
Barnes forced the Atwater team to play one dimensional and in the process it allowed the rest of the players for Pitman to find open lanes and make plays down the stretch.
The Pride were down by two in the opening minute of the third and before the Falcons knew it the score was tied at 22 apiece.
Then a 21-16 run from Pitman helped the home team notch their eighth win of the year and first CCC contest thus far.
“What I liked the most is that near the end when it was crunch time they made plays and at times we panicked because we have been in tight games like these,” Curtiss added. “It was good to get over that hump and so the crunch time pressure, it seems they are getting more familiar with it, which is good that they can experience this right now.”
As a team the Pride shot 34-percent from the field and knocked down only two three-point shots.
The lady Prides next game will be at Merced High against the Bears at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.