Sangster, Lady Pintos heading to Final Four with heavy hearts

The California Lady Pintos will head to the Final Four in Springfield this weekend. (Rod Smith/KRCG13)

It's the dream of every high school athlete in every high school sport: making it to the Final Four. Especially that sport in March.

But the thrills and highs of the achievement go beyond the athletes, they spread to the school, the fans, the community and, of course, the coaches.

That's what makes this so sad and unfortunate because the thrill for California Lady Pintos coach Bobby Sangster is certainly cloaked in sadness.

Sangster's father, Ed, died Saturday night, shortly after the Lady Pintos had earned their spot in the basketball Final Four in their quarterfinal win.

Ed Sangster was only 69.

"I've never really had to deal with this before," Bobby Sangster said. "There are parts of me that wonder if I'll be able to truly enjoy this week."

This was not a surprise for Bobby, 38, and the rest of the family, as Ed had been battling cancer for the last 18 months. After a valiant fight, it was just a matter of time.

"He was in real bad shape," Bobby said. "He was always a pretty good-sized lad (230-250 pounds) --- I come by it honestly, and both my (younger) brothers are pretty good-sized people, too --- but he was down to around 100 pounds when he passed."

In cases like this, most would agree that ultimately, it's a blessing. But make no doubt about it, it still hurts.

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