Lady Pintos finish Eugene Invitational in second place

After rebounding a missed shot, Kelsey Roush drives by Russellville's Kennedy Volkart on her way to scoring two points for the Lady Pintos during the semifinal game Thursday at the Eugene Invitational.

After rebounding a missed shot, Kelsey Roush drives by Russellville's Kennedy Volkart on her way to scoring two points for the Lady Pintos during the semifinal game Thursday at the Eugene Invitational. Photo by April Arnett.

After defeating #6 seeded Camdenton 52-46 in the opening round of the Eugene Invitational Nov. 26, California's varsity girls, seeded third, defeated #2 seeded Russellville in the semifinal round 45-29 Thursday, to advance to the championship game Saturday, where California lost a close contest to top-seeded Blair Oaks 41-39 to finish the tourney in second place.

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At left, California's Sydney Deeken gets past Russellville's AJ Grellner during the semifinal game Thursday at the Eugene Invitational. The Lady Pintos defeated the Lady Indians 45-29 to advance to the championship game Saturday, which California lost 41-39 to Blair Oaks.

California's Sydney Deeken and Kelsey Roush were named to the All-Tournament Team.

"After losing so many players last year, and because we have a lot of unknowns and are young, being the #3 seed was surprising and flattering," California Coach Bobby Sangster said. "But it turned out we were seeded appropriately. This was a good start for us. Playing two rivals back to back was tough, so after we beat Russellville, to come back and play Blair Oaks like we did was good. Though it wasn't our best game, the girls played tough. The Rackers girl did a great job of being aggressive offensively and we weren't prepared for that. But we will learn from it and adjust."

The Lady Falcons led 13-10 after the first quarter and 20-12 at the half. Blair Oaks led 35-26 after three quarters. The Lady Pintos turned up the heat in the fourth quarter to outscore Blair Oaks 13-6, but it wasn't enough to take over the lead.

Kamryn Koetting led California with 11 points. Roush and Deeken followed with nine points each and Caitlin Meyer pitched in with six.

"Caitlin has taken the task of guarding the opposing team's best guard really well," Sangster said. "It's a new position for her and she has done great."

Blair Oaks was led by Amanda Rackers with 14.

Previously, in the Lady Pintos' 45-29 semifinal win against Russellville Thursday, California led 14-11 after one quarter, 23-19 at the half, and 31-5 after three quarters.

California was led by Deeken with 17 points, followed by Roush with eight. Meleigha Caudel and Koetting each chipped in with six points.

Hannah Matthews led Russellville with 12 points, followed by Hannah Campbell with nine.

California will host Eugene Thursday, beginning with the JV game at 6 p.m.

"It's always tough to face Eugene right after the Eugene Tourney," Sangster said. "But we didn't have to play them this time, so we haven't seen them yet. Eugene is always tough, so it should be a good game Thursday."

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