STOVER, Mo. — The California Pintos girls basketball team faced off against a laundry list of opponents at the Paradise Shootout at Stover June 23-25.
Each day of the tournament, the Pintos matched up against three teams. On the first day, the Pintos went up against Cape Girardeau, Eugene and Hillsboro. On the second, California faced Linn, Moberly and Scotland County. On the final day, California faced Stover, Chillicothe and Climax Springs
In their game against the Scotland County Tigers, the Pintos won 38-30.
The Pintos started the scoring, taking a 2-0 lead with 15:28 left in the first half. It was a slow half for both teams on offense, but California led 7-5 with less than 9:40 left in the half. Scotland County went on an 8-2 run to take a 13-9 lead with around 3:42 left in the half. By the end of the opening period, California trailed 16-11.
The Pintos got it going on offense exiting the halftime break, as the team quickly cut into the Tigers' lead before taking the lead themselves at 17-16 with 14:30 left in the game. Scotland County retook the lead at 18-17 with around 12:00 left on the clock, but California quickly tied the game up at 20 with around 11:30 left to play.
The two teams exchanged the lead until the Pintos broke the deadlock with the game tied at 24; a Pintos three-pointer made it a 27-24 game with just less than 8:00 on the clock. The Pintos followed that up with a 9-3 run to make it a 36-27 game with less than 3:00 left to play, then extended their lead to 10 points at 38-28 with around 2:00 left before holding on for the win.
Three-point shooting played a big part for the Pintos in their second half resurgence, as California sunk eight.
Pintos head coach Bobby Sangster said the team is as deep as it's ever been.
"I love the commitment level at all levels," Sangster said. "Our girls are working extremely hard, and we have a lot of competition for the season coming up. We are in a good place; we are working extremely hard and I am really happy (with) how the girls have responded this summer."
During the summer, Sangster said the team is working to keep improving.
"(And) trying to learn one another," Sangster said. "We've got a new group of freshmen coming in and we lost a good group of seniors, so we are really trying to figure out how the pieces all fit together. We've got what we believe are some very beautiful pieces to this puzzle that's going to be basketball season. If we can find a way to put them all together correctly, then we are going to have a lot of fun this year."
Sangster said he hopes the returning players see how strong the team is, even with unfamiliar players brought into the fold.
"Every team is different. People graduate and we get new freshmen in, and I hope they see how strong the program is, I hope they see what we are capable of," Sangster said. "I hope that they look at last year and saw that a few bounces did not go our way and that hopefully, this year those bounces do."