J.R. Davis might not know what to do with himself if his Atwater High girls basketball team were ever on the right side of a lopsided win.
Instead, the Falcons coach had to nervously watch as his girls grinded out another nail-biting 45-39 win over Pitman on Tuesday night.
“These close games are going to put me in my grave a little early,” Davis said. “I’m glad we found a way to pull it out.”
Four of Atwater’s last five games had been decided by five points or less heading into Tuesday’s matchup.
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The key for the Falcons (2-1 Central California Conference, 6-13 overall) it to solve their third-quarter problems.
After erupting for 21 points in the second quarter to take a 13-point lead into the half, Atwater struggled again against Pitman coming out of the locker room.
The Pride (1-2 CCC) quickly chopped away at the lead with a 10-0 run in the third quarter.
Catie Riley’s 3-pointer pulled Pitman within 35-34 with 6 minutes and 35 seconds left in the game.
“I don’t know why but the third quarter for us has been bad this year,” Davis said. “For some reason we come out flat. We always try to find a way to lose the lead.”
The Falcons turned it around in the fourth quarter behind a strong all-around game from Maya Mora, who scored 10 points and came away with five steals and some big rebounds in the final minutes.
Mora found a wide open Brianne Hunter underneath the basket for an easy two points to give the Falcons a 41-37 lead with 1:53 left. Atwater hit a couple free throws in the final minute to hold off the Pride.
“We kind of have problems in the third quarter, but we know we can comeback,” Mora said. “We always do it.”
Maritza Hernandez helped the Falcons with 11 points off the bench.
Buhach Colony 54, Golden Valley 17
ATWATER -- Allison Wisdom scored 17 points as the Thunder remained all alone atop the CCC at 3-0.
Jessica Silva added 11 points and Taj Seals scored 10 for Buhach Colony (15-5 overall).
Merced 45, Turlock 34
TURLOCK -- Dalonna Jones scored 19 points and blocked eight shots to propel the Bears (2-1 CCC, 13-6 overall) past the Bulldogs.
Mohagany Stitt chipped in with seven points and 11 rebounds for Merced.