ASHLAND — The California Pintos girls basketball team (13-10) had its season come to a close March 1, following a 48-39 overtime loss to the Southern Boone Eagles in the semifinal round of the Class 4 District 8 Tournament.
It was a close game throughout, as the Pintos led 12-8 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, a three-pointer by Bailey Lage made it a 15-9 game with less than 7:00 to go before halftime. Another three-pointer by Lage made it 20-11 with just less than 5:00 left in the first half. The Eagles found their way back into the game with a 7-0 run to get within two points at 20-18 with around 2:30 left in the second quarter. A three-pointer by Trishelle Porter made it a two possession game at 23-18 with less than 2:00 left in the quarter. By halftime, the Pintos still led by the same score.
In the third quarter, back-to-back baskets by Lauren Hill made it a nine-point game at 27-18 with just more than 4:00 left in the quarter. The Eagles slowly cut into the lead, going on a 7-1 run to make it a three-point game at 28-25 with around 20 seconds left before the final quarter. At the end of the quarter, the Pintos still led 28-25.
Both teams continued to play tough defense in the opening quarter of the second half, as Southern Boone barely outscored California 7-5.
California scored first in the final quarter of regulation, thanks to a three-pointer by Rylee Hees that made it a 31-25 game with just more than 7:00 on the clock. A basket by KaLynn Irey made it 34-28 with 3:00 left in the quarter, but the Eagles cut the lead down to two points at 34-32 with around 2:00 left. A big three-pointer by Lage gave California a five-point lead at 37-32 with around 1:40 left to play. Then, California forced a steal on defense with around 1:20 left, but Southern Boone stole the ball right back. The Eagles were called for an offensive foul following their takeaway, and California had the ball with around 1:00 left until the buzzer. The Pintos were in the bonus after Southern Boone was forced to foul with around 40 seconds left in the quarter. Unfortunately, the Pintos missed a couple of free throws late and were not able to extend their lead.
The Eagles were able to capitalize and make it a three-point game at 37-34 with 32 seconds left before tying the game at 37 on a left corner three-pointer with 10 seconds left. The Pintos were able to inbound the ball in the final seconds, but their two-point jumper bounced off the back of the rim and the game went into overtime.
Southern Boone was able to control the game in overtime after taking a 39-37 lead with just more than 2:00 left to play. The Eagles were able to slowly extend their lead in the final minutes, outscoring California 11-2.
Pintos head coach Bobby Sangster said the team did everything it could when it came to the things they could control, but the ball just did not bounce their way. Nevertheless, Sangster said both teams should be grateful there was even a game to begin with.
“It is the way basketball is; you just do everything you can to control what you can control, and we did that,” Sangster said. “The bounces just did not go our way. We fought so hard this year in a year that a lot of people said should not have even happened. There are a lot of places that are not playing basketball right now, and we are grateful for our state and our support for our people to give us an opportunity to play the game that we love. That starts with our administration, our school board, our athletic director, and it goes to our community, and our health department and all the people there that have given their time and given their trust to us so that we can come out here and stay safe and play the game that we love.”
Sangster said this loss would sting for a long time, but he was proud of the team.
“I am so proud of these girls. I would not trade them for the world,” Sangster said.
Sangster said he thought the team had fantastic execution.
“They did everything we could ask. We just made one too many mistakes, and Southern Boone capitalized,” Sangster said. “That is what great teams do, but the girls executed a game plan. If I could have drawn it up myself, I don’t think they could have done a better job.”
Lage led the team with nine points each, followed by Tristan Porter with seven points and Rylee Hees with six points. The Pintos made six three-pointers in the game.
Sangster said he hope this game makes the younger players hungry.
“I hope it makes them realize that they worked to control what they could control and that nothing is given,” Sangster said. “From the game to the ability to play the game to wins and losses, nothing is given. You have to work and work and make sure that when your opportunities are there, you can take advantage of it.”