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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaCalen Kruger drives to the hoop in the Pintos’ loss to Hallsville in the consolation game of the Tri-County tournament on Dec. 6. Kruger led the way for the Pintos with 18 points on the night.

VERSAILLES, Mo. — The California Pintos boys team lost Dec. 6 to the Hallsville Indians 88-64 in the consolation game at the Tri-County tournament. The team is 1-2 on the year.

The team lost to Boonville in the first round 81-54 on Dec. 3, but the Pintos went on to earn a victory in their second round game against Osage 66-56 on Dec. 5 and advance to the consolation game.

Head coach Ron Lebel said the team does not need to hang its head when it comes to this tournament. Lebel said Boonville presented a tough matchup, entering the tournament as the three seed, and Hallsville wasn't far behind as the four seed.

"We beat an Osage team, so we got one out of three," Lebel said. "I think you can learn something every night. There are some things we need to learn. You just try to take something away from every game."

The Pintos trailed early in their game against Hallsville, as the Pintos found themselves down 10-5 with 2:52 left in the first quarter. The Pintos battled their way back — with under 1 minute to go in the quarter, Jordan Bondurant scored on a breakaway to give the Pintos their first lead of the game at 12-11. Hallsville retook the lead at 14-12, but California quickly tied at 14-14 after an offensive rebound and score by Trevor Myers. The first quarter ended with the Indians leading the Pintos 17-15.

In the second quarter, the Pintos tied the game at 17-17 and later 19-19 with over 6 minutes left to play before halftime. Later, the Pintos took a 22-21 lead that grew to a 24-21 lead after a basket by Bondurant with 5:20 left to go. Hallsville then went on a 4-0 run to retake the lead at 25-24 with 4:20 left in the quarter. The game would be tied up once again at 30-30 with 3:05 left before half time as neither team was able to pull away from the other. It looked like Hallsville was about to pull away as they led 40-33 with under a minute to go, but a three-pointer by Bondurant and another basket by Bryant Davis right before the buzzer made it a tight 40-38 game going into halftime.

In the third quarter, the game remained close as both teams exchanged baskets. California trailed Hallsville 50-44 with around 4 minutes left. The Pintos would fall into some foul trouble in the quarter as with 3:55 left, the Pintos had committed eight fouls. This foul trouble gave Hallsville opportunities at the free-throw line, which helped the Indians to pull away as they led 59-44 with just under 2 minutes to go in the quarter.

Hallsville capitalized on these opportunities, going 7-11 from the free-throw line in the third quarter. The Pintos trailed 63-47 by the end of the quarter.

Lebel said the team's foul trouble affected its rotations and sometimes led to a lack of balance.

"Our rotations got ugly," Lebel said. "We had guards at the back of our press, we had four guards out there at one time with four bigs on the bench. We were so unbalanced with all the foul trouble we had, with it being early in the year with this being game three, and we are starting to throw bodies out there that haven't really played on the floor together."

Lebel said the fouls were a combination of playing out of control and getting frustrated, issues that can get better as the season goes along.

In the fourth quarter, the Pintos got close to getting back in the game as they cut the lead down to 63-52, but Hallsville was able to keep the Pintos at bay as they outscored California 25-17 in the final quarter to earn the win.

Calen Kruger led the Pintos with 18 points, followed by Jordan Bondurant with 14 points, Trevor Myers with 10 points and Garrett Burger with eight points.

The Pintos' next game is at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at Missouri Military Academy.

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