ASHLAND, Mo. — The California Pintos boys team (12-8) finished in third place at the Southern Boone Classic, Feb.2, after defeating the Hallsville Indians (9-9), 67-54.
The Pintos won their first-round game of the tournament vs Fulton (7-9), 80-62, Jan. 29. But the team lost their second-round game to Southern Boone (17-2), 74-54, Jan. 31.
Unlike the last time these two teams played in a 86-79 win for the Pintos, Jan. 25, California did not need to make a come back to pick up the win, as this time the Pintos were tied with the Indians at 16-16 after the first quarter, and the Pintos led 30-25 at halftime.
The Pintos made five 3-pointers in the first half.
The last time the teams played each other, California had to play from behind early on, as Hallsville jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter. That was not the case in this game. Head Coach Ron Lebel said it was nice to see the Pintos get the lead early in the game.
"We've been off to some slow starts, so we talked about doing some things and trying to get off to a faster start and we did tonight," Lebel said.
Early in the third quarter, the Pintos began to pull away from the Indians, as California went on a 11-5 run to make it a 41-30 game with just under five minutes to play in the quarter.
Hallsville responded with a run of their own, in order to get back into the game as the Indians went on a 8-0 run to make it a 41-38 game with just over 2:30 left to go in the quarter. The teams traded baskets, but California went on a mini-5-2 run to end the third quarter with a 51-44 lead, thanks to a 3-pointer by Jordan Bondurant and a quick basket in transition after California stole the ball with around 30 seconds left.
Lebel said that he thought the team played well in the second half.
"I thought we did some nice offensive execution and, once you hit some shots, you get a little energy," Lebel said. "We communicated a little better on the defensive end than we typically do."
In the fourth quarter, the Pintos quickly found themselves up 54-44, before pulling away, as they were up 20 points at 66-46 with just under 5:00 left to play, thanks to a 12-2 run. The Indians tried to get back into the game, as they went on a 8-0 run to make it a 66-54 game. But with just around 1:00 left to play in the game, it was not enough. The Pintos gave up only 10 points in the fourth quarter.
The Pintos went 11-18 from the free-throw line in the win. Isaac Ash had a team-high 25 points in the game. Jordan Bondurant, Jordon Geiser and Trystan Hees each added 11 points.