ASHLAND, Mo. — The California Pintos girls basketball team finished in fourth place Dec. 1 at this year's Tri County girls tournament at Southern Boone, after losing to Boonville 57-52.
California won its first-round game versus Versailles Nov. 27, 72-13. The Pintos lost the second-round game to Osage Nov. 28, 58-54. The team is now 3-2 on the year.
In the third-place game, California and Boonville were tied at 10-10 after the first quarter. Boonville led 13-12 in the second quarter, before going on a 9-0 run to increase their lead to 10 points at 22-12 with just under three minutes in the first half. The Pintos answered with a 8-4 run of their own to end the half down only six points at 26-20.
The Pintos trailed Boonville 35-27 late in the third quarter but a three-point play by Gracie George made it a five-point game at 35-30 with just over 3:30 left in the quarter. The team found itself down 13 points, after Boonville went on a 12-0 run with just over a minute to play in the third. California trimmed the lead down to eight points, thanks in part to two free throws after a shooting foul was called against Boonville at the buzzer.
But the Pintos still trailed 45-33 heading into the fourth quarter. Boonville outscored California 19-13 in the third.
In the fourth quarter, California trailed by 10 points at 51-41 late in the quarter. Then, California was able to cut the lead down to six points with around two minutes left to play at 52-46 and inched even closer at 52-48 with 1:35 left to play in the game.
But every time California got closer Boonville was able to answer with points of their own. And, with just around one minute left in the game, Boonville led 56-48. The Pintos were able to get the lead down to four points again at 56-52 with 33 seconds left, but were unable to tie the game.
Head coach Bobby Sangster said that the team can learn from the tough losses they had in the tournament.
"We've all got a lot to learn; we've all got a lot to change and we've all got to realize this is not as easy as it looks." Sangster said. "We made things look pretty easy last year at times and there was a reason for that — because we were a pretty good ball club.
"This team has an opportunity to be pretty good; but we still have a long way to go and we will get there. We've got to figure some things out and we will. That is the great thing about being tested right now is that it shows you what we need to work on and it shows you how you need to get better."
Gracie George led the team with 22 points. Tristan Porter scored eight points and Hailey Cain scored seven.
In the first round, the Pintos were in control of the game from the start, as they led Versailles 37-9 at halftime. California increased its lead, as they ended the third quarter up 49 points with the score at 59-10. California only gave up four points in the second half en route to their 72-13 win.
Gracie George had a game-high 12 points and Tristan Porter and Hailey Cain each had 11 points in the win.
In the second-round game versus Osage, the Pintos held a slim 12-11 lead after the first quarter. The Pintos pulled away just a little bit by the end of the first half, as they led by eight points with the score at 33-25, after California outscored Osage 21-14 in the second quarter.
However, Osage climbed its way back in the third quarter, as they outscored California 20-11 in the quarter to take a slim 45-44 lead of their own. The game remained close throughout the fourth quarter. The Pintos were unlucky, as they had a three-point play wiped away by a questionable charging call with 2:15 left to play and trailing Osage 54-48.
The team still played tough, as they were able to cut the lead down to three points with the score at 57-54 at 22 seconds left. But Osage was able to hold on for the win.
Gracie George led California with 13 points. Trishelle Porter had 11 points and Paige Lamm scored nine.