The #2 seeded Lady Pintos faced top-seeded Blair Oaks (ranked #2 in state in Class 3) Sunday in the Class 3 District 8 championship game at Ashland, where California battled to the end, but came up just two points short, losing 47-45 to the Lady Falcons.
"I cannot emphasize enough how special this group of young ladies is," California Coach Bobby Sangster said. "The adversity we had to go through tonight was unbelievable. We had girls being picked up off of the floor with scratches, bumps and bruises, it was very physical."
California led 11-10 after one quarter, however, Blair Oaks had pulled ahead 27-25 by the half. It was those two points the Lady Pintos were unable to get back in the second half as the Lady Falcons led 38-36 after an even 11-11 third quarter, followed by an even 9-9 fourth quarter. It certainly wasn't for lack of effort by the Lady Pintos, who hung with the Lady Falcons in a very physical ball game.
Sangster added, "With no seniors, we just played the #2 team in the state hard. It amazes me the way our girls step up in big situations."
California (21-7) was led by Sydney Deeken with 19 points, and Kamryn Koetting with 11.
Blair Oaks (24-2) was led by Lee Ann Polowy with 12 points, followed by Amanda Rackers with 11.
Previously in the tournament, after defeating #7 seeded Eugene 49-22 in the first round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament Feb. 18 at Ashland, the Lady Pintos faced #6 seeded Versailles in the semifinal round Feb. 20, where they captured a 60-27 win to advance to the championship game.
California led 13-8 after one quarter against Versailles, 25-15 at the half, and 45-19 after three quarters.
"I'm very proud of the girls for stepping up and getting the job done," Sangster said. "They did a great job of executing our press and they brought intensity on the offensive and defensive end. Tonight was our night."
Meleigha Caudel led California with 19 points, followed by Mara Caudel with nine. Caitlin Meyer chipped in with eight points.
Versailles was led by Akrista Greer with 10.
"I cannot emphasize enough how special this group of young ladies is," Sangster said. "They started out with adversity last summer and they continued to work hard. They took the coaching and improved every game and we just played in our fifth straight district championship in my career here at CHS. I am so proud of them. They have made the coaching staff, school and community very proud."