Justin Wootten picked a good time to have a career night.
After posing for pictures with his family during a pregame ceremony to honor the five seniors, Wootten then went out and scored a career-high 24 points to lead Golden Valley to a 86-69 win over Atwater on Friday night.
"I don't know what it was," said Wootten, who hit four 3-pointers. "Maybe it was handing out those flowers during the senior presentation.
"I had some open shots. I got set up and knocked some of them down. I was aggressive tonight."
Wootten's big night helped GV (7-5 Central California Conference, 15-12 overall) overcome a 25-point performance from Atwater's Eriq Belt.
More importantly, the win should lock up a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs for Golden Valley.
Wootten and company came into the final week of the regular season at No. 17 in the section power ratings with the top 16 teams qualifying for the playoffs.
Wins over Pitman and Atwater this week should extend GV's season.
"I think we deserve to be in," Golden Valley coach Keith Hunter said. "We've gotten better and I think anybody who has watched us would say that.
"I would just love to have the opportunity. It's one game and anything can happen in one game. It's always a privilege to make the playoffs."
Hunter knows for his team to upset a few teams they'll have to shoot like they did Friday night.
Golden Valley made 10 3-pointers against Atwater with Trek Fayerweather also knocking down four treys for 12 of his 15 points.
Richard Thomas also made a pair of 3-pointers and finished with 17 points.
However, Atwater (4-8 CCC, 10-15) countered with nine 3-pointers of its own.
Belt and Danny Martinez (14 points) each made four 3-pointers
Both knocked down 3s as Atwater cut a 15-point deficit to just 68-62 with a 12-3 run early in the fourth quarter.
"We've shown a lot of heart, a lot of passion and a lot of resilience," Atwater coach John Kane said. "The last few years we probably would have been run out of here right away."
Wootten helped stop Atwater's momentum with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.
"Justin has played great the last two weeks in our last six or seven games," Hunter said. "He's been scoring and playing his butt off on defense. He's not going to have any regrets after he graduates. I respect him a lot for the way he's worked."
Golden Valley put the game away at the foul line, scoring its final 15 points on free throws.
Now, Golden Valley will wait until Sunday afternoon to find out its playoff fate.
"Making the playoffs is very important," Wootten said. "This is why we played all summer and worked so hard.
"We play basketball because we love the sport, but our goal is to make the playoffs."
At Golden Valley
Atwater 13 20 16 20 -- 69
Golden Valley 25 19 19 23 -- 86
ATWATER -- Eriq Belt 25, Nathan Sanchez 10, Jacob Penrod 5, Danny Martinez 14, Andrew Morgan 15. Totals: 24 12-30 69.
GOLDEN VALLEY -- Rob Martinez 9, Myles Hamilton 1, Richard Thomas 17, Trek Fayerweather 15, Larry Moore 6, Justin Wootten 24, Garrett Hill 11, Jeremy Gutierrez 3. Totals: 24 28-38 86.
3-pointers: Atwater 9 (Belt 4, Martinez 4, Penrod 1), Golden Valley 10 (Wootten 4, Fayerweather 4, Thomas 2); Team Fouls: Atwater 23, Golden Valley 21; Fouled Out -- Tumbling (A), Sanchez (A), Dalmaso (A). Technicals -- Tumbling (A).
Records: Atwater 4-8 CCC, 10-15 overall; Golden Valley 7-5 CCC, 15-12 overall.
JV -- Golden Valley won 51-42.