LINN, Mo. — The California Pintos boys basketball team is (15-10) season ended with a 65-62 loss to North Callaway (20-6) in the first round of the Class 3 District 9 Tournament, Feb. 20.
The game was close after the first quarter as California trailed North Callaway 18-15. Both teams scored 18 points in the second quarter, but California found themselves down 27-20 around halfway through the quarter. The Pintos started a comeback, thanks to back-to-back three-point plays that made it a 30-26 game.
California and North Callaway traded baskets the rest of the quarter, and the Pintos cut the lead down to three points to make it a 36-33 game at halftime.
California took a 42-38 lead with just more than four minutes into the second half. Trevor Porter made a 3-pointer to give the Pintos a 40-38 lead, then got a steal and a quick layup on the ensuing possession to extend the Pintos' lead to four.
The Pintos would lead by as much as five points, but North Callaway stayed in the game and the Pintos began the fourth quarter up 47-44.
Head coach Ron Lebel said his team has responded to being down early all year long.
"We have kind of did that all year long for some reason we have had slow starts all year long," Lebel said. "We fought back in a lot of games. They did a good job all year long of competing and if we got behind they always competed to catch up."
In the fourth quarter, North Callaway would tie the game at 51 with just more than five minutes to play. The game was tied again at 53 with just more than three minutes to go.
North Callaway would take a 58-54 lead with just under two minutes left, but California cut the lead down to two points, 58-56, with 1:26 left in the game. North Callaway responded by making it a 60-56 game, only for California to make it a two-point lead again with the score 60-58.
California then made it a one-point game at 60-59 with less than a minute to go but could not tie the game after a missed free throw.
North Callaway made it a three-point game at 62-59 in the final seconds of the game. California's Trystan Hees recorded a three-point play with 12 seconds left, closing the California deficit to 63-62.
California was able to get the ball back with around four seconds left on the clock and trailing by three points, but the Pintos could not inbound the ball and committed a turnover. North Callaway was then able to run out the clock and secure the win.
Lebel said the team did not execute well down the stretch.
"We made a few critical turnovers," Lebel said. "North Callaway did a good job on the defensive end and we did not do a good job of executing."
The Pintos made four 3-pointers in the game and shot 16-of-26 from the free-throw line.
Hees led the team with 22 points. Isaac Ash finished with 14 points, Trevor Porter scored 11 points and Jordon Geiser added seven points.
North Callaway made four 3-pointers in the game and shot 19-of-26 from the free-throw line.
California struggled with turnovers in the second half. The Pintos had seven in the second half, two of which were costly as they came in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.
Lebel said the team had a good season overall.
"We ended up being 15-10 and that was the total opposite of where we were last year when we were 9-15. So we kind of flip-flopped that, which I said that if I thought we did that, we had a pretty good year," Lebel said. "We were 5-2 in the conference, which is pretty nice in the conference we are in. I thought we had a nice little year."