With the postseason out of reach for the Pitman boys basketball squad this year, the Pride were looking to be spoilers as they finished out the year playing against two of the top three teams in the league.
The Pride hosted the current first place squad in league, Golden Valley, on Wednesday night in a Central California Conference matchup.
A stagnant start from Pitman that transcended into a second half emergence was not enough for the Pride and they dropped their sixth straight in a crushing 64-55 loss.
“We had a great third quarter and made it interesting and it was a lot better than the first time we played them. We just continued to battle and the kids did a great job in competing,” Pitman head coach Harvey Marable said.
The game started out with a 14-0 run for the Cougars that ended in a 19-7 score by the end of the first quarter.
Things started to go Pitman’s way by the start of the third as the lead was cut to 47-43 and from there on it was a grudge match with both teams exchanging points.
A 24-15 run in the third made the score 45-50, but the ability of the Cougars to make clutch shots down the stretch ultimately led to the Pride’s defeat.
“They [Golden Valley] usually are a pretty calm cool team, and they started to press and got pressure, they made stops when needed,” Marable said.
Golden Valley went on a 5-0 run to get up 59-52 and the Pride came back to make it 59-55, but that would be the last time Pitman would score.
The Cougars were led by senior Joshua Sykes and Damian Jimenez, who were clutch late in the game. Jimenez finished with six of the team's final 14 points to end the game.
“In the first we played like a team that was on a five game losing streak, we couldn’t hit a basket and then it clicked, our defense picked up, especially in the second, a level that we can consistently play and we need to do that for four quarters,” Marable said.
After the game, the Pride fell to 13-11 overall with a 2-7 CCC record. They have more than surpassed last year’s win total of five, so it was not all that bad of a year.
“We're going to be over .500 which is nice especially after coming off a five game winning year. For the seniors to turn it around and generate these wins, we've got a great base to work off for next year,” Marable said.
Pitman’s Gurvinder Uppal had 18 points and three assists while Branson Garcia added 13 points along five boards. Cyle Williams, who had a rough night, tallied 8.
The Pride will travel to Turlock High on Tuesday as the teams will square off in a must-win scenario for Turlock and for Pitman to have the opportunity to be the spoilers with a starting time of 7:15 p.m.
“The first time and last time we played Turlock it always meant something, but this game is the opportunity to win our last game and we always like to win the last game and for them it’s a do or die, the pressure is on them,” Marable said.