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Golden Valley leaves hard hats at home

TURLOCK -- Keith Hunter isn't one to look for excuses.

The Golden Valley boys basketball coach could have taken his pick on Friday night.

John Sykes' gimpy ankle.

The tough shooting environment in Pitman's spacious gym.

Nope and nope.

Hunter felt he didn't have his guys ready to play.

Two nights after a thrilling overtime win over Merced, GV came back to earth with a thud as Pitman knocked off Hunter's boys 64-57 on Friday night.

"It's the player. It's the coach. It's not the place," Hunter said.

"We didn't play with the same enthusiasm and excitement we've played with in our last few games."

Sykes, who injured his left ankle against Merced, played but didn't have his usual explosiveness.

Golden Valley's big three of Sykes, Alex Fletcher and Donte Scott erupted for 71 points against Merced.

The trio was held to just 38 points against Pitman (3-2 Central California Conference, 15-4 overall).

GV struggled to hit shots from anywhere on the floor.

Golden Valley made just 7 of 24 from behind the 3-point line and just 4 of 12 from the free-throw line.

"We know Golden Valley is a totally different team when Sykes is 100 percent," Pitman coach Harvey Marable said. "We're not going to lose perspective. We know it will be a totally different game when we go to their place."

The game got out of hand quickly for Golden Valley (3-2, 16-4) midway through the third quarter.

Scott scored 10 straight GV points to help his team build a 39-33 lead with 4:22 left in the third quarter.

Pitman then scored 20 straight points to take a 53-39 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

GV's loss drops it into a four-way tie for second place in the CCC with Pitman, Los Banos and Turlock.

All four teams trail Merced (4-1) by one game.

"I just thought we were a step slow tonight," Hunter said. "It's basketball. We're the type of team that needs to wear our hard hats every night.

"They're just kids. They've had to listen to everyone tell them how great they are the last couple days. They read it in the newspaper.

"Hopefully we learn from it."

At Pitman

Golden Valley 12 15 12 18 -- 57

Pitman 10 17 20 17 -- 64

GOLDEN VALLEY -- Daniel Garcia 2, Scott Livesay 4, Richard Thomas 9, Donte Scott 14, James Stockton 2, John Sykes 14, Alex Fletcher 10, Garrett Hill 2. Totals: 23 4-12 57.

PITMAN -- Robert Beale 8, Chase Torba 3, Jaspreet Bassi 12, Matt Lavender 6, Sam Baker 5, Edgar Lopez 11, Nick Jackson 4, Dominic Romeo 5, Amar Randhawa 10. Totals: 24 12-25 64.

3-pointers: Golden Valley 7 (Thomas 3, Fletcher 2, Livesay 1, Scott 1), Pitman 4 (Bassi 2, Baker 1, Lopez 1); Team Fouls: GV 20, Pitman 13; Fouled Out -- None.

Records: Golden Valley 3-2 CCC, 16-4 overall; Pitman 3-2, 15-4.

JV -- Golden Valley won 50-46.

Frosh -- GV won.