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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaTristan Porter gets past a defender during the Pintos’ 68-32 win over Battle during the first round of the California girls tournament on Jan. 13.

The California Pintos girls basketball team played some tough defense Jan. 13 during its 68-32 win over the Battle Spartans in the first round of the California girls tournament. The Pintos are the No. 3 seed in the tournament and are now 10-3 on the year.

California led 13-9 after the first quarter and would extend the lead to 17-9 after Lauren Friedrich hit a three-pointer and was fouled during the shot, giving her the chance to make a free throw for a four-point play. Another three-pointer by the Pintos made it a 20-12 game with 6:17 left to play in the first half. A basket by Makayla Schanzmeyer made it a double-digit game as California led by 10 points with the score at 22-12 with just over six minutes to go. The Pintos led by 12 points with the score 26-14 with 4:50 left in the first half. Another basket by the Pintos made it a 28-16 game with 2:42 left in the half. The Pintos did not give up a point in the last couple minutes of the half and found themselves leading 32-16 at halftime.

In the early minutes of the third quarter, both teams would score quickly, trading baskets and leaving California with a 38-24 lead with 5:46 in the quarter. The Pintos took an 18-point lead at 42-24 with 5:14 left, and later, a three-pointer by Tristan Porter made it a 19-point game at 45-26 with 3:59 left in the quarter. The Pintos' lead only grew wider throughout the quarter — with 1:02 left in the quarter, the team led 51-26. Paige Lamm made a three-pointer right before the buzzer to make it a 56-28 game.

The Pintos only gave up four points in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Spartans 12-4. A steal by the Pintos led to some nice passing. A long pass was made to Tristan Porter, who then made a touch pass to Lauren Hill to score on a three-point play and make it a 63-30 game with 3:10 left to go in the game. The Pintos had 11 steals in the second half.

Head coach Bobby Sangster said the team's defensive performance helps the team's confidence.

"We had a lot of success with defensive possessions," Sangster said.

Sangster said, despite the win, the team can still learn from mistakes it made in the game and continue to improve.

"As nice as the scoreboard looked tonight, there were a lot of mistakes made in the game tonight and we (have) to learn from them and get better and keep growing," Sangster said.

When it came to the amount of steals the team had, Sangster said the team did a good job of finishing its defensive possessions.

"Steals are great as long as you finish on the offensive end," Sangster said. "We had a lot of opportunities tonight where we did not finish on the offensive end. The girls did a great job of finishing the defensive positions by getting their hands on the basketball. But then what we do with it matters as well. It is something to work on, something to give us something to look forward to tomorrow, something I know the girls are anxious to fix."

Paige Lamm led the way for California with 15 points, followed by Tristan Porter and Lauren Friedrich with 11 points each and Makayla Schanzmeyer with 10 points.

The team's next game will be at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15 in the second round of the tournament against No. 2 seed Marshall. Marshall won its matchup against Fulton 46-39 in the team's first-round game.

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