TURLOCK -- Trek Fayerweather put his arm around Devonta Jackson as they walked out of the Pitman High gym.
The two players skipped all the way to the Golden Valley locker room. Their feet barely touching the ground. They were soon joined by all their teammates.
Chants of "We are ... Golden Valley!" began as players hugged and high-fived each other.
The celebration was just getting started.
Golden Valley finally pulled off the upset it needed.
Fayerweather scored on a layup with 18 seconds left and GV's defense forced two late turnovers as Golden Valley escaped with a 48-46 win over Pitman.
It was a win that could propel Golden Valley into the playoffs if it can end the regular season with a win against Atwater on Friday.
"It felt so great," Fayerweather said. "Me and Devonta were like, 'We won. We won. We're going to the playoffs. It feels so great.' "
Golden Valley (6-5 Central California Conference, 13-12 overall) entered the week No. 17 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I power ratings.
The top-16 teams qualify for the playoffs.
Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter has been preaching for the past month that a .500 conference record wasn't going to be good enough to get into the playoffs.
That meant his boys had to find a way to beat one of the CCC's elite teams: Merced, Turlock or Pitman.
Golden Valley came close against Merced and Turlock, but couldn't pull out a win.
Wednesday night against Pitman (6-5 CCC, 15-11) was the last opportunity.
"It's nice to get one of these," Hunter said. "We were close against Turlock. We had a great game against Merced.
"To stay focused and comeback the way they did says a lot about these guys."
Like most teams, Golden Valley focused on Pitman's 6-foot, 6-inch center Dominic Romeo.
The senior star still scored 22 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, but he hardly got anything easy.
Jackson spent most of the game guarding Romeo and at times, his speed gave the Pitman big man problems. The 6-foot-3 Jackson also had plenty of help as any GV player close by collapsed on Romeo anytime he touched the ball.
"I thought Devonta's minutes were tremendous," Hunter said. "His quickness made it tough for Romeo. He probably took about three or four elbows to the chin, but he kept working hard."
Hunter got contributions from everyone.
His players knew their season was on the line and they played like it.
Myles Hamilton scored two big buckets and came up big on the defensive end.
Justin Wootten knocked down a couple 3-pointers and took the ball to the basket effectively as he finished with 12 points.
The game was close throughout with the biggest lead for either team being six points.
Pitman led 44-41 with 1:52 remaining when Rob Martinez came up with a couple big plays.
He knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 44-43.
Golden Valley immediately turned up the heat on its press and Martinez came away with a steal and scored on a layup over Pitman's Chase Torba to give GV a 45-44 lead with 1:25 left.
"Things didn't go our way in some of our other close games," said Martinez, who scored eight of his team-high 13 points in the fourth quarter.
"I feel so happy because we all worked so hard and played so hard to get this win."
Romeo eventually tied the game at 48-48 with two free throws.
With the shot clock off, Martinez worked the ball up the floor.
The Golden Valley sophomore beat Pitman's trap with a pass over the top to Fayerweather, who went straight to the basket for a layup to put his team ahead 48-46 with 18 seconds left.
"I saw Rob throw it and I saw Romeo coming," Fayerweather said. "I thought Romeo was going to steal it for a second. Once I had full possession, I saw a lane to the basket open up and I attacked the basket.
"Garrett (Hill) sealed off the last guy and I just went up for the layup."
After Jackson missed a free throw, Pitman had one last chance with 4.8 seconds left on the clock.
Pitman got the ball to Romeo, but he lost control of the ball on his way down the court as time expired.
Golden Valley 6 12 13 15 -- 46
Pitman 8 8 17 11 -- 44
GOLDEN VALLEY -- Rob Martinez 13, Myles Hamilton 4, Trek Fayerweather 9, Larry Moore 2, Devonta Jackson 4, Justin Wootten 12, Garrett Hill 4. Totals: 20 6-14 46.
PITMAN -- Derek Nidey 3, Chase Torba 3, Alexander Madden 6, Joseph Madden 2, Zachary Olsen 2, Chris Netniss 2, Dominic Romeo 22, Amarpreet Randhawa 6. Totals: 16 10-17 44.
3-pointers: Golden Valley 2 (Wootten 2), Pitman 4 (A. Madden 2, Nidey 1, Torba 1); GV 15, Pitman 13; Fouled Out -- Nidey (P).
Records: Golden Valley 6-5 CCC, 14-12 overall; Pitman 6-5 CCC, 15-11.
JV -- Pitman 61-57.
Freshmen -- Golden Valley won.