ELDON, Mo. — The California Pintos boys basketball team's season ended Feb. 25 with an 85-65 loss to the Southern Boone Eagles in the Class 3 District 9 Tournament. The team ends the season with a 9-16 record.
Head coach Ron Lebel said the team competed well during the season.
"I felt that we competed well every night," Lebel said.
Lebel said the players returning for next year can use the example this team's seniors gave them when preparing for next season.
"They can see how (the seniors) acted and worked at practice," Lebel said. "There is a lot to take away."
The game was very close in the first quarter, as the score was tied at 16 with 1:49 left in the quarter. A basket by Trevor Myers gave the Pintos an 18-16 lead with around one minute left. A three-pointer by Trevor Porter followed by another basket by Myers made it a 23-18 lead with less than 30 seconds left, and the Pintos carried a 23-20 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter started with an 8-0 run by the Eagles to take a 28-23 lead with 6:08 left to play before halftime. After a basket by Myers made it a 28-25 game, neither team scored until Braeden Birdsong made a basket to make it 28-27 with just more than three minutes to go in the first half. California stayed in striking distance throughout the rest of the quarter — with around 30 seconds to go, Birdsong tied the game at 33, but Southern Boone retook the lead with a three-point play to make it a 36-33 game at halftime.
The Eagles had a big third quarter as they outscored the Pintos 27-11 to pull away. The quarter started off on a 14-6 run for the Eagles as they extended their lead to 50-39 with 4:45 left to go in the quarter. After a three-pointer by Caden Kirksey and two free throws by Calen Kruger, the Pintos cut the lead down to six points with the score at 50-44 with less than four minutes on the clock. However, California had trouble stopping the Eagles from getting inside the paint, especially in the third quarter, as the Eagles continued to find success near the basket. At the end of the third quarter, Southern Boone led 63-44 after ending the quarter on another lengthy, 13-0 scoring run.
Lebel said the Pintos came out of the halftime break a little flat and that Southern Boone had success with offensive rebounds in the third quarter.
"During the game all night, Southern Boone got a ton of points off of second chance opportunities off offensive rebounds," Lebel said. "We did not do a really good job of rebounding and keeping them off the glass on the offensive end and they got a lot of second chance points, and to me that was the difference of the game."
With the Pintos being a small team this year, rebounding had been a problem area throughout the rest of the season as well, Lebel said.
The Pintos tried to get back into the game in the fourth quarter, as they cut the lead down to 17 points at 68-51 with 4:54 left to play, but they were not able to get the lead under double digits. Southern Boone led by as many as 22 points during the final quarter en route to the 85-65 Pintos loss.
Trevor Myers led the team with 16 points, followed by Braeden Birdsong with 14 points, Trevor Porter with 12 points and Caden Kirksey with 11 points. The team made seven three-pointers in the game and shot 2-3 from the free throw line. All of the team's free throws came in the second half of the game.