CHARLESTON -- For the 10th straight game the Charleston girls' basketball team earned the sweet taste of victory. The Lady Trojans scored the first 11 points in the opening 1:22 and never trailed in improving to 17-1 overall and 6-1 in the Apollo Conference with a convincing 83-49 triumph over Taylorville Monday at Baker Gymnasium.
Charleston coach Jeff Miller was concerned about the 10 days with out a game.
"Before the holiday tournament we had 10 days off and after the holiday tournament we had 10 days off," said Miller. I was a little worried we would spend a half knocking the rust off so to speak, but the girls came out and executed our game plan. I am very excited for our team."
Charleston freshman Shae Littleford, who averaged 18.6 points per game prior to the contest scored 18 in the opening quarter with lightning quick drives to the basket. Littelford finished with a team-high 27 points, a season-best.
"We got out of the box pretty quick and had a good start," said Miller. "Defensively I thought we did an outstanding job. We scored a lot of points in transition. That is what we do get out and run. Shae Littleford did an incredible job getting to the rim. We live and die with the team concept and I thought we did an outstanding job playing as a team tonight."
Littleford was 10-of-12 from the field in the first half with 25 points as the Lady Trojans led 51-25 at the break.
Charleston built up a 22 point lead in the opening quarter, taking a 29-7 lead on a basket by Littleford. It was 31-9 when Taylorville outscored CHS 11-2 cutting the lead to 13. Natalie Snyder had a putback after a three-pointer by Haylee Sagle for the Lady Tornadoes, who played man-to-man defense. Hope Griffin opened up the scoring in the second quarter for CHS but Snyder, who finished with a double-double with a team-leading 19 points and 10 rebounds, scored four straight and a bucket by Sagle, a 5-11 freshman on a feed from Olivia Pruitt made it 33-20 with 6:43 left in the second.
The Lady Trojans made sure they would not get any closer with a 27-2 run in a span of 7:52 to taking a commanding 60-25 lead on a three-pointer by Paige Swango, one of four for her in the game.
CHS, who played a matchup 1-2-2 causing Taylorville to turn the ball over 11 times in the opening quarter, switched defenses some in the second quarter.
"We tried to change things up a little bit defensively and I think that kind of stymied them a little bit," said Miller. "We did a good good on both ends, taking care of the basketball (8 turnovers and none in the first 8:26) and defensively forcing turnovers (29)."
Swango finished with 20 points and Griffin had 12 for CHS, who made nine straight field goals from a 47-24 lead with 18 seconds left in the half to 69-30 with 2:12 remaining in the third. The run started with a putback by Bernie Jackson and ended with a bucket by Griffiin. For the game, Charleston shot 54 percent from the field and made 13-of-15 (.867) from the free throw line.
The Lady Tornadoes shot 45 percent from the field, but just 27 percent in the middle two quarters.
It was the first game of the 2018 portion of Charleston's season and It was also the first time the Lady Trojans played an Apollo team it faced earlier in the season as they begin the second round of games. Charleston beat the Lady Tornadoes 80-53 Nov. 27. The last game for the Lady Trojans was Dec. 29 in the championship game of its own holiday tournament, a 67-57 victory over Effingham.
"Any Apollo win is a nice win," said Miller. "We will take this and start preparing for Lincoln."
Charleston is to travel to Lincoln Thursday for another conference game. The Lady Trojans beat Lincoln 63-61 Dec. 11.
Taylorville fell to 9-9 overall and 2-5 in the conference.
Junior varsity wins big
The Charleston junior varsity used a strong first half to take a 38-16 lead over Taylorville and went on to win 67-26.
Elizabeth Buescher and Annie Crowder led the Lady Trojans, 9-0, with 17 and 16 points.