ASHLAND, Mo. — The California Pintos won the consolation game at the Tri County boys tournament at Southern Boone after a 94-80 win Nov. 30 over the Versailles Tigers. California lost its first-round game Nov. 27 to Hallsville 90-76 and won the second-round game Nov. 29 versus Osage 74-39.
Trystan Hees had a huge game for the Pintos with 40 points in the game versus Versailles. Scoring 40 points meant a lot to Hees.
"My teammates, they shared the ball with me and they knew we had an advantage in the post; so they fed it in and I thank them for that," Hees said. "I got (Versailles') big guy in foul trouble and they were feeding into the post and I was working, so we kept going with it."
California trailed Versailles early in the game at 16-9, but the team went on a 9-0 run to take an 18-16 lead with just over a minute to go in the first quarter. The teams were tied at 21-21 by the end of the first quarter and Hees had 16 of the Pintos first 21 points in the game.
In the second quarter, the Pintos started to take control of the game, as after taking a slim 27-24 lead early in the quarter, California went on a 10-0 run to make it a 37-24 game with just over two minutes left in the half. California entered halftime up 42-32.
After halftime, California only continued to pull away, as they scored 28 points in the third quarter and extended their lead to 15 points, as they entered the fourth quarter up 70-55.
In the fourth quarter, the Pintos led by 20 points with the score at 77-57 before Versailles cut the lead down to 14 points after a 6-0 run by the Tigers to make it 77-63 with 5:17 left to play. California responded with a 10-2 run and the Pintos led by as much as 22 points, as they led 87-65 with 2:50 left in the game.
The six three pointers the team made in the second half helped build that lead. Hees scored his 40th point of the game to make it a 93-78 game with 11 seconds to play, which drew quite a cheer from the California fans.
Head coach Ron Lebel said that the team feeds off Hees.
"There are going to be some nights where other teams are going to play him one-on-one and he is going to have a huge night, like he had tonight," Lebel said.
"So, he might have a huge night one night and score 10 the next night. We are basically playing off of him and how people are going to guard him.
"If they play him one-on-one, we are going to get him the ball and let him play. If they are going to double down on him, we are going to kick it out of there and let our guards play."
Lebel said that the team did pretty good in the tournament with their two wins.
"Offensively, we are in a pretty nice place. We scored 94 tonight, almost 80 against Osage (Nov. 29) and played Hallsville really tough (Nov. 27)," Lebel said.
"On offense, I feel like we are in a good place. Defensively, we still need to work on some stuff. Versailles got us last year twice and basically had the same team back; we feel pretty good about it."
In the first-round game versus Hallsville, Isaac Ash scored a team-high 18 points. Jordan Bondurant scored 15 points, Jordon Geiser 12 and Trystan Hees 11. California trailed 22-15 after the first quarter and trailed 50-39 at halftime.
In the second-round game versus Osage, Ash had a team-high 23 points. Bondurant had 21 points and Hees had 15. California trailed Osage 14-10 after the first quarter. But the Pintos outscored their opponents 29-12 in the second quarter to take a 39-26 lead. California then outscored Osage 27-8 in the third quarter to take control of the game.
The team is going to have to work on closing out games, according to Lebel.
"We looked very tentative, trying to close the game tonight," Lebel said. "We were very casual with the basketball and, in situations where we were not securing it at all, we were just letting it flop around out there. Besides that, I thought we played really well."