Lady Pintos fall to Lady Spartans

California's Sydney Deeken (33) manages a steal during the third-place contest against Battle Saturday afternoon at California High School. At right is California's Cameron Meyer.

California's Sydney Deeken (33) manages a steal during the third-place contest against Battle Saturday afternoon at California High School. At right is California's Cameron Meyer. Photo by April Arnett.

After defeating seventh-seeded Southern Boone in the first round of the California 20th Annual Girls Basketball Tournament Jan. 13, second-seeded California lost a hard-fought battle to third-seeded Jefferson City in overtime, 38-36, in the semifinal round Wednesday.

The Lady Pintos led 10-5 after the first quarter, but the Lady Jays had pulled ahead 18-13 by the half. California outscored Jefferson City 14-8 in the third quarter to gain a 27-26 advantage going into the final frame. The Lady Jays evened the score with six points to California's five to tie the game at 32-32 by the end of regulation. The Lady Jays ultimately outscored the Lady Pintos 6-4 in overtime to secure the win.

"Both teams played phenomenal defense," California Coach Bobby Sangster said. "Our girls had a nice rhythm going at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, but it came down to a couple of shots in the end, which Jefferson City made. This was a game with two very evenly-matched, well-coached teams. To go into overtime with the third largest school in the state is pretty good."

Sydney Deeken led California with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Jefferson City was led by Megan Foster with 19 points.

California then played fourth-seeded Battle (Columbia) for third place Saturday, where the Lady Pintos lost a close contest to the Lady Spartans, 48-43.

California led 20-9 after the first quarter, however, Battle had pulled ahead 29-27 by the half. The Lady Spartans went on to outscore the Lady Pintos 10-7 in the third quarter to lead 39-34 going into the final frame. California got within two points of the Lady Spartans with 1:25 left to play, however, a bucket by Maya Mouton, and a free throw by Cheyanna Weaver secured the win for Battle.

"Our girls did a bang-up job right off the bat," Sangster said. "We were full of energy, but by mid-game, you could tell Battle was wearing us down. They were sharper than us, and we came up a little short. It's been such a long week. After two emotional Southern Boone games, then the game against Jefferson City, it took a toll on us."

Deeken led California with 21 points, while Kamryn Koetting added seven.

Mouton led Battle with 14 points, followed by Weaver with nine.

Sangster added, "With that said, it's been a great week of basketball and a great experience for us. We really want to thank everyone who helped with the California Tournament, especially Bob Staton. The fans were great. This tournament helps prepare us for March. We also want to congratulate Coach (Blair) Scanlon and the boys for winning the championship. We know what it means to them and to our community."

Jefferson City went on to defeat top-seeded Boonville 47-19 Saturday for the tourney championship. Southern Boone took fifth-seeded Fulton out 61-59 Friday to win the consolation.

Named to the All-Tournament team were California's Deeken; Boonville's Morgan Edwards and Aly Wessing; Jefferson City's Morgan Foster and Kezia Martin, who was named the tournament MVP; Battle's Weaver and Ellie Johnson; Harrisonville's Brianna Kendrick; Fulton's Sloane Totta; and Southern Boone's Kylie Shoot.

The Lady Pintos (9-5) will be back in action today (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. at Hallsville.

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