The Salida High School boys’ basketball team came up short against two highly ranked teams over the weekend.

SHS fell 83-55 Friday to the No. 4-ranked team in Class 3A, The Vanguard School.

The Spartans lost a close game Saturday to the No. 3 team in Class 1A, Sangre de Cristo, 68-63.

Against Vanguard, Salida trailed 45-25 at halftime. The Spartans started the second half strong and won the third quarter 19-17, but Vanguard pulled away again in the fourth.

“The boys played really tough, but just couldn’t stop (Dominique) Clifford,” Salida head coach Donnie Kaess said. “He had a great game and showed why he is going DI (Division I). The turnovers really hurt us as well. When we took care of the ball we had success.” 

Junior Leif Gislason scored 17 points and snagged seven rebounds to lead Salida. Junior Myles Godina scored 13 points, blocked four shots and grabbed seven rebounds. Junior Max Ferguson scored 7. Senior Nico Granzella made every shot he took and finished with 5 points. Junior Jonah Ellis also had 5 points for Salida. Junior Elijah Roberts scored 4, while sophomore Aaron Morgan and freshman Tristan Jackson both added 2.

The Spartans then traveled to Mosca Saturday to take on the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds. A slow start and lots of fouls, however, were too much for Salida to overcome.

Midway through the first quarter, Salida found itself trailing 15-3. By halftime the Spartans were able to rally to tie the game, 25-25. Salida then won the third quarter, 19-18, to take the lead into the fourth.

Free throws helped the Thunderbirds prevail as Salida got called for 32 fouls during the contest, forcing SHS to finish the game with some of its top players on the bench.

“We played much better in the second half but had kids in foul trouble the whole game,” Kaess said. “(We) had three guys foul out and two others finish with four fouls. Our bench players stepped up and really played good, kept us in the game. But (Sangre de Cristo) ended up with 25 points from the foul line. That’s really tough to overcome.”

Godina scored 21 points before fouling out. Gislason, who scored 5, and Roberts also fouled out.

Ellis scored 13, Ferguson scored 10, Morgan added 6, Granzella and sophomore Braden Collins both scored 3 while Roberts added 2 for the Spartans.

Vanguard and Sangre de Cristo both improved to 16-1 overall with their wins. Salida is now 8-9 overall and 5-5 in Tri-Peaks League.

Today, Salida will be back on the court at 2:30 p.m. when the team plays a rescheduled game at Atlas Prep (10-6, 4-6). Salida will conclude its regular season by hosting Buena Vista (6-11, 3-8) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.