ATWATER — Shane Gentry kept a negative thought to himself Thursday night.
The Buhach Colony girls basketball coach felt if the Thunder couldn’t pull off a win against Atwater, he wasn’t sure they could battle their way back in the conference title race.
Allison Wisdom made sure that didn’t happen, though.
The Buhach Colony star scored 27 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as the Thunder edged Atwater 47-46 in front of a near capacity crowd at Atwater High. The win pulled Buhach Colony (15-6 overall, 4-1 Central California Conference) even with the Falcons (12-10, 4-1) and Merced atop the CCC standings with five games left.
Wisdom had the same fear as Gentry coming in the game.
“My mindset coming in was if we didn’t win this game we don’t have a shot at the title,” said Wisdom. “Taking losses to Merced and Atwater back-to-back... I don’t think we could pull it back after that.”
According to Gentry he spent about fours talking to Wisdom after the Merced game on Tuesday and on Wednesday. He talked to her about being patient and picking her spots more instead of going all out all the time. Gentry didn’t want to have to take Wisdom out of the game as much as he did against the Bears.
Wisdom only took one 20 second break at the end of the first quarter.
“I was going off adrenaline,” Wisdom said. “In the Merced game I got fatigued quickly. I knew I couldn’t do that tonight. It was more of a mental thing. I had to push through it.”
As for the Falcons, if anything, they proved they can play with every team in the conference. Atwater came close to being 5-0 in league, but just couldn’t make the plays down the stretch.
“We’ve got to shoot our free throws and eliminate the mistakes at the end,” said Falcons coach J.R. Davis. “I take this as (Buhach Colony) has been here before. We haven’t had too many games like this. We were 4-0 in league. It’s been a long time since the Atwater girls program has done that. Hopefully this is a learning experience.”
The game was played before a near capacity crowd.
The Falcons jumped out to a 5-0 lead to start the game and that was the biggest lead by either team throughout the game.
It was a physical game that saw 43 fouls called and 54 free throws shot.
Wisdom scored 13 points in the first half to help the Thunder take a 23-19 lead into the half.
Buhach Colony was hit with a technical foul to start the second half when they came out of the locker room late. Natalie Govea made one of the two free throws to help the Falcons start the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 28-25 lead.
The Falcons used their usual balanced attack on offense as Govea led with nine points. Martiza Hernandez (eight points) and Mayra Mora (seven points) came up with big baskets when needed.
The Falcons led 34-32 after three quarters, but then Wisdom took over.
The fourth-year guard gave Buhach Colony the lead three different times in the fourth quarter as the game went back and forth. Wisdom’s 3-pointer with 2:55 left gave the Thunder the lead for good at 42-40.
Wisdom made a pair of free throws to give Buhach a 47-43 lead with 15 seconds left. Atwater’s Alexis Bautista sank a 3-point to cut the lead to 47-46 with 8 seconds left, but the Falcons couldn’t foul Wisdom until there was just 1 second remaining.
Wisdom missed both free throws, but was able to get the rebound to end the game.
“Allison Wisdom decided we weren’t going to lose,” Gentry said. “I can’t say enough about the girls who finished this game. They decided we were going to win tonight. They weren’t going to come out.”
Sun-Star staff writer Shawn Jansen can be reached at (209) 385-2462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.