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Deeken’s 3-pointer propels California past Harrisburg

Sydney Deeken of California launches a 3-pointer in front of Lady Pintos coach Bobby Sangster as Kirsten Southerland of Harrisburg defends during the fourth quarter of Saturday afternoon’s game at Fleming Fieldhouse.

Sydney Deeken of California launches a 3-pointer in front of Lady Pintos coach Bobby Sangster as Kirsten Southerland of Harrisburg defends during the fourth quarter of Saturday afternoon’s game at Fleming Fieldhouse. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Up by three points, it wasn’t the ideal shot to take.

Until it went in.

The California Lady Pintos, who led from the opening minute, saw their advantage cut to 46-43 midway through the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon against the Harrisburg Lady Bulldogs in the Missouri National Guard Shootout at Fleming Fieldhouse.

With 3:31 remaining, California senior Sydney Deeken launched a 3-pointer from NBA range.

“That about gave me a heart attack,” California coach Bobby Sangster said. “It was way back there. I never in a million years thought she was going to shoot it.”

Especially from that distance.

“It seemed like she was standing next to me and I was standing next to the scorer’s table,” Sangster said.

No worries. Swish. The three-point lead was up to six and the Lady Pintos went on to post a 57-49 victory against the Lady Bulldogs.

“She has the confidence to do it,” said Sangster, who picked up the 200th victory of his 10-year coaching career. “When she gets mad, she focuses. Everybody likes to see her play with a lot of joy, but as her coach, when she focuses, oh boy.”

Deeken was “focused” Saturday. In just her second full game of the season, the Missouri volleyball recruit totaled 28 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.

“She is a special, special talent,” Sangster said. “She is unbelievable. She is enjoying basketball and you can see that. She really understands what it takes to compete.”

The Lady Pintos never trailed in the game, vaulting to a 7-0 lead 2:30 into the contest.

“I don’t know if they were quite ready for our quickness or our size,” Sangster said. “But they gritted their teeth and made it a ball game.”

The Lady Bulldogs, who trailed 15-8 after the first quarter, were down 22-11 in the second period before closing the half on a 7-2 run.

A 3-pointer by Deeken from the top of the key in the opening minute of the third quarter gave California a 27-18 advantage. But Harrisburg fought back again, using a 7-2 run in the final two minutes of the period to make it a 36-34 game in favor of California with one quarter remaining.

After Deeken’s 3 made it 49-43, the Lady Pintos got their final eight points from the free-throw line.

Kelsey Roush, back in the lineup for the first time since the third game of the season, and Kameron Koetting added 10 points each for California.

Kirsten Southerland led three Lady Bulldogs in double figures with 13 points. Karyssa Giboney and Hailey Lowery chipped in with 10 each. Chloe Franklin pulled down 10 rebounds for Harrisburg.

California (6-2) is back in action Saturday against Bowling Green in the Moberly Regional Medical Center Shootout.

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