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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaLauren Hill dribbles past a Blair Oaks defender Feb. 20 during the Pintos’ 57-51 loss to the Falcons.

The California Pintos girls basketball team fell short Feb. 20 in a tough matchup against the Blair Oaks Falcons 57-51 in a back-and-forth game that went down to the final minute on the team's Senior Night. The No. 3 team in Class 3, the Pintos went to 19-5 on the year after the loss.

The Pintos trailed 5-0 with 5:32 left in the first quarter. The Pintos got on the board after a basket by Makayla Schanzmeyer made it a 5-2 game. Later in the quarter, the Pintos trailed Blair Oaks 9-6 when a three-pointer by Tristan Porter tied the game at 9-9 with 3:13 left in the quarter. Near the end of the quarter, the Pintos trailed 14-9 and a three-pointer by Trishelle Porter made it a 14-12 game right before the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, the Pintos tied the game at 14-14 after two free throws by Schanzmeyer with 6:43 left in the quarter. California took the lead for the first time in the game after two free throws by Tristan Porter made it an 18-16 game with around five minutes left in the first half. Blair Oaks then went on a 9-0 run to take a 25-18 lead with 1:34 left in the quarter. California cut into the lead near the end of the quarter thanks to two three-pointers by Lauren Friedrich and Trishelle Porter, making it a 28-24 game at halftime.

Tristan Porter scored the first nine points for California in the third quarter as the Pintos tied the game at 33-33 with 4:08 left on the clock. California then took the lead at 35-33 after KaLynn Irey grabbed an offensive rebound and scored with less than four minutes left in the quarter. California led 37-33 with less than three minutes in the quarter, but the Falcons tied the game at 37-37 with around six seconds left until the final quarter.

Paige Lamm scored the first six points for the Pintos in the fourth quarter as California led 43-40 with 4:50 left. The game would be tied up at 47-47 with less than three minutes left in the game after a three-pointer by Blair Oaks. Later in the quarter, with the game tied at 49-49, the Falcons made two free throws to take a 51-49 lead with 2:06 left in the game. Paige Lamm tied the game at 51-51 after securing an offensive rebound with 1:38 left in the quarter. The Falcons then took a 53-51 lead with 1:18 left in the game. Blair Oaks made one free throw to make it 54-51 with less than a minute to go, but the Falcons missed the second free throw. However, they were able to get the offensive rebound before being fouled and making it a 55-51 game. With less than 30 seconds left, California attempted two three-pointers in the hope of making it a one-point game, but the ball would not go in the basket on either shot. The Falcons then hit two more free throws to secure the win.

Head coach Bobby Sangster said he hopes that the team takes multiple things away from the loss.

"Focus, I hope a renewed sense of urgency, and I hope a little bit of pain. I hope this hurts," Sangster said. "We've got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and get ready for districts next week.

"We took good shots — they just did not fall tonight, and that's basketball," Sangster said.

Sangster said that in a back and forth game, the team has to stay in the moment.

"We (have) to play the next play, we have to play with urgency," Sangster said. "We had some bad bounces tonight, we let some things slip out of our control that we could control and when you do that you open the door for an opportunity for a team like Blair Oaks to come in and beat you. (Blair Oaks) knows what it takes to win, and this is why this is such a great rivalry."

Paige Lamm had a team high 18 points, Tristan Porter scored 14 points and Trishelle Porter added six points.

The Pintos will get a rematch against the Falcons in Districts tonight at 6 p.m. at Eldon

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