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story.lead_photo.caption Tristan Porter gets past a defender during the Pintos' win over South Callaway at the River Region Credit Union Shootout on Dec. 14, 2019. Photo by Kevin Labotka / California Democrat.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A big third quarter was key for the California Pintos girls basketball team in its 49-40 win over the South Callaway Bulldogs at the River Region Credit Union Shootout on Dec. 14.

The Pintos improve to 4-2 on the season with the win.

The game was a low-scoring affair in the first half, as South Callaway led 13-12 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Bulldogs extended their lead to 18-12 with 6:30 left in the quarter. California made it a 18-14 game on a basket by Lauren Hill with just over 4 minutes left before half time. Hill's basket accounted for the only points the team scored in the second quarter, and South Callaway led 19-14 at the half.

Early in the third quarter, it looked as if the Bulldogs would pull away for good as they led 22-14, but a basket by Bailey Lage followed by a three-pointer by Tristan Porter got the Pintos back in the game with the score at 22-19 with just under 6:30 left in the quarter. Later, the Pintos took a 22-21 lead after Paige Lamm scored off an in-bounds play with around 5:30 to go in the quarter. The game stayed close throughout the quarter as California led 30-27 with 2:30 left to go. South Callaway retook the lead at 31-30 with just under 2 minutes left, but Porter scored the next five points for California as the team reclaimed a 35-31 lead with around 1 minute left. The Pintos ended the quarter up 37-31, outscoring the Bulldogs 23-12.

Head coach Bobby Sangster said the team did a good job of making its shots in the third quarter, something that eluded the team earlier in the game.

"We were getting shot opportunities in the first half and not converting them," Sangster said. "The girls finished in the second half. They were playing very unselfishly and got the ball in the basket."

Sangster said the big third quarter gave the team a lot of confidence.

The Pintos started the fourth quarter up nine with the score 40-31 after Rylee Hees made a three-pointer early in the quarter. The Bulldogs got the lead down to six points at 43-37 with just under 4 minutes left in the game, and later to within three points as California led 43-40 with just under 2 minutes to go. California was able to force two missed three-pointer attempts with around 52 seconds left, and Porter iced the game for California as she hit multiple free throws in the game's final seconds.

Sangster said the team has to continue to grow with the win.

"We need to continue to work hard and be strong, and be mentally, physically and emotionally tough," Sangster said.

KaLynn Irey was named the game's most valuable player. She scored 14 points and secured seven rebounds for California in the win.

The team's next game is at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 on the road at the School of the Osage.

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