HERMANN — The California Pintos girls basketball team (10-6) finished in second place at the Hermann tournament Jan. 29 after a buzzer beater 49-48 loss to the Owensville Dutchgirls in the championship game.
Head coach Bobby Sangster said on the last play of the close game, the Pintos played good defense; the team can learn from the tough loss.
“We played good defense and the girl put the ball in the basket and that is what champions do,” Sangster said. “It did not bounce our way this time, but we had way too many opportunities to allow that shot to beat us, and we did not capitalize. We’ve got to learn from it and if we don’t want to feel this way again, we have to change and we’ve got to be better.”
California led 7-3 early in the game with around 4:00 left in the first quarter. Tristan Porter made a three-pointer to make it a 10-3 game with less than 3:00 left in the quarter. The Pintos led 12-6 by the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Pintos led 17-11 with less than 5:00 left before halftime. California went on an 8-4 run to make it a 25-15 game with just less than 3:00 left in the game. The Dutchgirls cut the lead down to seven points at 27-20 with less than 1:30 left in the first half, but two free throws by Rylee Hees helped the Pintos enter halftime leading 29-20.
The Pintos led by 10 points at 36-26 around the halfway point in the third quarter, but the Dutchgirls went on an 11-2 run to make it a one-point game at 38-37 with just more than 1:00 left before the final quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Pintos led 40-37.
In the fourth quarter, it remained a close contest. The Pintos found themselves with a three-point lead at 42-39 with just more than 5:00 left in the game. The Dutchgirls cut that lead down to one point at 42-41 with around 3:30 left in the game, but California made it 44-41 after a basket by Bailey Lage. The game was tied at 44 with less than 3:00 left on the clock when a basket by Lauren Friedrich made it a 46-44 game.
The game was tied again, this time at 46, after a score by Owensville, and the Pintos trailed 46-47 with around 1:00 left in the game. California retook the lead after another basket by Friedrich made it 48-47 in the final seconds of the game.
Owensville had the ball with around 29 seconds left and some tough defense by the Pintos forced a miss with around 13 seconds left; the Pintos were able to get the rebound. After a foul, the Pintos had a chance at the free throw line to extend their lead but were unable to. Owensville secured the rebound and in the final seconds of the game was able to get a shot off close to the paint right before the buzzer that went in to win them the championship.
Sangster said he was happy with how team executed when Owensville took the lead late in the game.
“I was really happy with the execution to come back and while down to be able to get a bucket and get a score and then cause (Owensville) fits on the other end. (We) made them have to execute and put the ball in the hands of one of their secondary players and she made a shot,” Sangster said.”I am really proud of the girls’ resilience. I know it was not our best game but we have taken two long bus rides over here and we played our hearts out. That is part of the season, that is a part of basketball, that is a part of life. You don’t always get the good bounce, the kind bounce, and we did not get the kind bounce tonight and we have a long bus ride home now.”
KaLynn Porter led the team with 16 points, followed by Tristan Porter with 11 points and Bailey Lage with seven points.
Tristan Porter was named to the all-tournament first team and KaLynn Irey was named to the all-tournament second team.