The California Lady Pintos played Eugene Monday night in the first round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament at Ashland, where they defeated the #7 seeded Lady Eagles 49-22. California, the #2 seed, led 14-7 after one quarter, 21-14 at the half, and 37-17 after three quarters. The Lady Pintos outscored the Lady Eagles 12-5 in the fourth to take the victory.
Sydney Deeken, who led California with 16 points, scored her 1000th career point at the district opener. Kamryn Koetting followed with 14 points.
With the win, California (20-6) will play #6 seeded Versailles at 7:30 p.m. today (Wednesday) in the semifinal round.
Other Monday night action at the Classs 3 District 8 Tourney included the following: top-seeded Blair Oaks defeated #8 seeded Southern Boone 60-18; #4 seeded Centralia defeated #5 seeded Boonville 46-26; and #6 seeded Versailles upset #3 seeded Hallsville 47-32.
Blair Oaks will play Centralia at 6 p.m. today (Wednesday) in the other semifinal game.
The district championship game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Previously, in regular season play after defeating Osage 44-38 in a make-up game at home Feb. 12, the Lady Pintos traveled to Wardsville Thursday with hopes of winning their fifth consecutive Tri-County Conference title. Those hopes, however, were dashed when the state-ranked Lady Falcons came from behind, 25-15 at the half, to secure a 42-35 Senior Night win and the conference title, Blair Oaks' first since 2008.
"Congratulations to Blair Oaks for winning the conference championship," California Coach Bobby Sangster. "We know how tough that is, we've done it. Tonight was their night and I don't want to take any credit away from them. We were the champs, they had to knock us off, and they did."
California jumped out to an 18-6 lead after the first quarter and still had the edge at the half, 25-15. The second half, however, was a different story as the Lady Falcons rallied to outscore the Lady Pintos 13-3 in the third quarter and 14-7 in the fourth to capture the win.
"I'm very proud of my girls," Sangster said. "We were a team of no seniors up against a #2 state-ranked, senior-laden team on their Senior Night. We were in their place and had upwards to a 15-point lead early in the first half and a 10-point lead at halftime; our girls battled. Blair Oaks did a great job. They really focused on Sydney and tried to take her away. They've beat us twice by a combined total of eight points. We look forward to districts and the challenge of going through the gauntlet. Hopefully we're healthy enough and want it bad enough, and we'll get another shot at Blair Oaks. When we do, I think we'll be ready."
(If Blair Oaks and California both win their semifinal games today, Sangster will get his wish.)
Meleigha Caudel and Kelsey Roush led the Lady Pintos with eight points each. Caitlin Meyer chipped in with seven points, and Koetting and Mara Caudel each scored six.
LeeAnn Polowy led Blair Oaks (23-2) with 23 points.
On a lighter note, halftime entertainment saw California's Mike Lutz sink a half-court shot in a contest Blair Oaks has hosted at each of the boys' and girls' home games this season, in which one fan was selected via raffle to attempt a half-court shot to win a cash prize donated by Mid-America Bank. The prize increased by $100 with each missed shot, and had risen to $1800 by the finale Thursday night. Lutz ultimately donated half of his prize to Blair Oaks, then Mid-America Bank offered to donate another $500 if Blair Oaks Superintendent Jim Jones could sink a half-court shot, which he did. (Lutz donated the other half of his winnings to California Athletics.)
California's JV lost 58-34 to Blair Oaks, while the freshman Lady Pintos lost their two-quarter game to the Lady Falcons 15-11.
In California's previous win against Osage, the Lady Pintos led 10-6 after one quarter and 23-8 at the half on their way to the win.
Koetting led California with 17 points.
Osage was led by Daisy Ralston with 11.
California's freshmen also defeated Osage, 34-27, while the JV lost to the Lady Indians 47-26.