Today's Paper News Education Sports Obits Events Contests Classifieds Autos Jobs Search

Pintos season ends to Springfield Catholic in district semifinals

End season with a 12-15 record by Evan Holmes | March 8, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Junior guard Ayden Bryant breaks away for a layup against the Springfield Catholic Irish in the district semifinal. Bryant had nine points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal on Wednesday. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)

After defeating the Buffalo Bison in the opening round of districts on Monday night, the California Pintos advanced to take on the Springfield Catholic Irish in the semifinals on Wednesday. Springfield Catholic seized control of the game early on and forced the Pintos to play from behind. While the Pintos tried to cut down their opponent's lead, the Irish still ended the their season.

Before the game, Pintos' head coach Brad Conway changed the starting lineup, positioning Hayden Kilmer as the starting small forward in the place of the injured teammate Brooks Volkart.

California felt Kilmer's performance during the first possession of the game as he knocked down a straight-on three-pointer to tie the score in the opening minute.

The Pintos felt they would be mismatched if they played man-to-man defense and chose to play zone defense instead. However, California had its own troubles with the zone defense of Springfield Catholic.

Kilmer's three-pointer was the only field goal California acquired in the first quarter. They trailed 14-4 after Springfield senior Ryan Tauai scored eight points in the first quarter.

In the second quarter California chipped away at Springfield's 10-point lead. Kilmer again led the way with eight points, although every time California got close, the Irish responded with a basket to push the Pintos back one step. The Irish would continue to surpass the Pintos. Kilmer scored a breakaway layup with nine seconds left only for Springfield's Jackson McDaniel to make a contested three-pointer as time expired.

McDaniel's only field goal of the game gave Catholic an eight-point lead at halftime, 29-21.

California moved into the third quarter taking advantage of openings in the Irish defense and went on an opening 15-7 run to make it a two-point game at 38-36. All was going well for the Pintos until Springfield Catholic seized control of the game back.

The Irish took advantage of four turnovers by California in the final three minutes of the quarter, pushing their lead back to eight points at 44-36.

Springfield Catholic dominated the game on both sides of the court and California was unable to make a basket for most of the quarter, shooting 1-10 in the fourth. The Irish went on a 12-0 run to open the fourth quarter and California's season came to an end in the district semifinals. 60-38 was the final score.

The Pintos shot 44 percent in the game from the field (14-32), 33 percent from three-point range (2-6) and 57 percent from the foul line (8-14). Hayden Kilmer had 13 points, three rebounds and two assists. Hunter Berendzen had ten points and eight rebounds. Ayden Bryant had nine points, three assists, two rebounds and two steals.

The Irish shot 59 percent from the field (22-37), 50 percent from downtown (8-16) and 80 percent from the foul line (8-10). Reece White and Jacob Schulte each had 18 points to lead the way from Springfield Catholic. Ryan Tauai also played a solid role with 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals.

"In the first half, we didn't communicate very well in the zone and didn't defend the high post very well. I thought in the third quarter we did much better, but Catholic started knocking down shots and we switched to man and they were able to expose the mismatches," Conway said. "Our effort was good and felt we played hard. We just ran into a well-coached team that was longer and more aggressive than we were and we struggled putting the ball in the basket."

It was an up-and-down season for the Pintos, who finished with a 12-15 record. Conway said that the season tested his team in multiple ways and the players had to often learn things the hard way. However, Conway is hopeful that the season will be a building block for next fall. He said the Pintos will have a good group of players returning in October to help the Pintos get back to great heights.

"This was a challenging season and the guys never backed down. We were a young inexperienced team but felt we made some positive strides throughout the latter part of the season and I liked the effort and grind I saw out of them. We have a nice nucleus returning next season, but there are things we need to do better and we need to be more consistent on both ends of the floor," Conway said. "The last game of the season is always tough when we have been in the gym together for four months together building stronger relationships and developing a camaraderie with teammates. We appreciate the time and effort that Hunter and Pete gave to the program. They are two great kids who are going to go on and do great things."

photo Sophomore forward Hayden Kilmer had 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists for the Pintos against Springfield Catholic. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Senior center Hunter Berendzen had 10 points and eight rebounds in his final game with the Pintos on Wednesday night. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Junior guard Ayden Bryant gets to the rim and earns a trip to the free throw line. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Freshman center Landen Dunham gets ready to box out Springfield Catholic for a rebound. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Pintos head coach Brad Conway coached the California to a 12-15 record in the 2022-23 season. His record with California is now 39-37 after three seasons. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)

Print Headline: Pintos season ends to Springfield Catholic in district semifinals


Sponsor Content