The California Pintos girls basketball team (5-4) rolled to a big 69-37 win over the Fulton Hornets in the first round of the California girls basketball tournament Jan. 11.
Tristan Porter had a huge game for the Pintos, as she led all scorers with 30 points and made seven three-pointers in the game. Pintos’ head coach Bobby Sangster said Porter gives the team an answer for a lot of questions.
“Tristan is able to make our lives a lot easier. Tristan gives us an answer for a lot of questions,” Sangster said. “It was her unselfishness early to make the next basketball play that led to a lot of success later on. I loved the fact that she was setting her teammates up, and I loved the fact that her teammates were doing a fantastic job looking for her, finding her, and she was able to produce.”
The Pintos led 12-5 after the first quarter. In the second quarter, a three-pointer by Bailey Lage gave the Pintos a double digit lead at 15-5 early in the quarter. Fulton cut that lead down to seven points at 17-10 with 4:24 left to go before halftime. The Pintos expanded their lead back to 10 points after two offensive rebounds kept the Pintos’ possession alive and a three-pointer by Porter made it a 20-10 game with 3:25 left in the quarter. Porter followed that up by making a trio of three-pointers in a row to make it a 29-12 game with less than a minute left in the second quarter. At halftime, the Pintos led 30-14.
California was able to get five offensive rebounds in the second quarter and 10 in total throughout the game. Sangster said there were multiple factors as to why the team was able to find success there.
“Rebounding is a lot of heart, a lot of effort and a lot of prepration, and the girls were doing all of those things,” Sangster said. “Defense is 90 percent preparation and positioning, and that kind of goes the same way for offensive boards. They know which way the shots are going to come from and they can anticipate and they are aggressive to go after it. A tip of the hat to Lilli (Eichelberger), and Lauren (Friedrich), and Lauren (Hill) and KaLynn (Irey), they just did a great job of sniffing those rebounds and going out and getting them with two hands.”
In the third quarter, California kept pulling away and led 38-17 with 5:01 left in the quarter. With the score at 40-21, a three-pointer by Lilli Eichelberger made it 43-21 with just less than 4:00 to play in the quarter. California ended the quarter on an 8-4 run to make it a 51-25 game entering the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Fulton cut into the Pintos’ lead a little bit and made it a 21-point game at 53-32 with just less than 5:30 left in the game. The Pintos responded with an 11-2 run to make it a 30-point game at 64-34 with just more than 1:00 left on the clock.
Both teams scored a couple more times in the final seconds to give the game its final score. Fulton scored 12 points in the final quarter, the highest amount of points the Hornets scored in a single quarter throughout the game.
For California, only four players scored in the first half; in the second half, the scoring was much more spread out, as eight players recorded points in the third or fourth quarter.
Sangster said Fulton’s defense changed up a little bit in the second half and the Pintos were able to make plays thanks to their unselfishness.
“Fulton went from zone to man in the second half and they focused a little bit more on Tristan, and that allowed her to make plays for others,” Sangster said. “That allowed others to have some room to operate and do some great things. So I think it was a really unselfish effort by all the girls, and I think we continued to play on the defensive end and our defense led to offense and that led to opportunities for others. It was a great balanced effort tonight and I loved the way the girls passed the basketball; it just felt good to play good basketball.”
Lauren Hill scored 10 points to go along with Porter’s 30 points, and Lauren Friedrich and KaLynn Irey both added seven points each for California. The team made 10 three-pointers in the game and shot 11-15 from the free throw line in the win.
The Pintos’ next game is at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 13 against Rock Bridge’s junior varsity team.