It is never an easy task to overcome when your team loses 18-consecutive games, let alone 57 days of not winning a game, but things changed on Thursday night for the hosts, Turlock High.
In a Central California Conference matchup to remember, Pitman came into the Bulldogs home ready to win after losing four straight of their own, but a second half emergence by the ‘Dogs led to the demise of the Pride who played soft in the second.
Led by freshman Shea Williams, who tallied a game-high 17 points, six of which came in the final minute, the ‘Dogs came away with a 42-37 win in the very anticipated rivalry.
“It shows what kind of girls they are. After losing 18 in a row and to come out and scrap, play hard, and fight — going after every loose ball — it was a team win tonight,” Turlock head coach Mark Musselman said. “Our seniors were playing unselfish and giving the ball to the freshman [Shea], they did a great job. I couldn’t be prouder.”
It was in the paint that the ‘Dogs dominated after outrebounding the Pride 34-20 for the game, consistently attacking the inside.
One minute into the third, the Pride found themselves up by five, but an 8-0 run by the Bulldogs became the first time that they held the lead for the game.
“Turlock was just going to rim and hard, we were a step late and didn’t get to our spots when we needed them to we were just one second too late,” Pitman head coach Dustin Curtiss said.
Both squads delivered clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game, going back and forth, with over six lead changes in the third quarter, but it was the ‘Dogs who were aggressive in the paint and drew the fouls, essentially making the shots when needed.
“We just didn’t make shots when it mattered. They clearly won the free throw battle and it’s nothing to say about the other team, they were the more aggressive team,” Curtiss said. “Their aggressiveness won them the game.”
The Pride committed 20 fouls, a majority coming late in the game while the ‘Dogs committed only 14 turnovers for the game — an essential stat line that coach Musselman emphasized his team should strive for to win.
“Fourteen turnovers tonight. I tell them since the beginning if they keep them below 15 then good things can happen and they did that tonight, took care of the ball,” Musselman added. “Moving forward hopefully we can continue to build off it, getting over that hurdle where we finished a game tonight. I hope this leads them to the next step.”
Aside from her phenomenal night, Williams was able to grab six rebounds, four blocks and two steals for the Bulldogs. Teammate and senior Sienna Cruz finished with nine points and five boards, two assists and also a pair of steals.
For the Pride, Cady Riley finished with 11 points, two assists and a steal. Katie Willet had a game-high 10 rebounds along with seven points.
CCC play will continue for the Bulldogs who will host Golden Valley at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
Pitman will travel to Buhach Colony next week to take on the Thunder in a CCC matchup with a starting time of 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday.