The Lady Spartans basketball team had to deal with adversity once again Wednesday at St. Mary’s.
The team’s leading scorer, Rachel Pelino, collided with a St. Mary’s High School athlete in the second quarter and had to leave the game with a concussion.
Salida High School was already without Raley Patch, who suffered a concussion against Lamar, and Emma Wilkins, who was out sick.
The short-handed Lady Spartans kept the game close early, but St. Mary’s eventually pulled away to win the contest, 54-27.
“With Raley and Emma out, the kids came in and did a good job,” coach Lee Lewis said. “They’re playing hard and that’s all I can ask.”
Salida jumped out to a 5-0 lead right away and trailed 10-8 after the first quarter. In the second, however, St. Mary’s out-scored Salida 17-2.
Salida came out strong after the break and tied St. Mary’s in the third, 9-9.
Foul trouble hurt Salida’s comeback bid. Two Lady Spartans fouled out while a third played with four fouls.
The coach, however, said Ari Howell and Sarah Chick “have been steady all year” and that continued Wednesday.
Chick blocked three shots and pulled down eight rebounds in the game.
“Sarah Chick is really coming into her own,” the coach said.
Meanwhile, Howell matched up against St. Mary’s top shooter and held her way below her season average.
“Ari did a great job taking away their best shooter,” Lewis said.
Toby Lawson also had a big game, pulling down 10 rebounds and six steals for Salida.
Turnovers, however, continued to hurt the Lady Spartans and Lewis said they led to some easy baskets Wednesday.
With the loss, Salida slipped to 3-5 overall and 2-5 in the 3A Tri-Peaks. St. Mary’s, ranked No. 9 in the state, improved to 7-1, 5-1.
“We’re getting better,” Lewis said, “we just have to clean some things up — mostly passing.”
Salida now has five games remaining in its regular season, and the coach called four of them are “very winnable.” The team, however, is likely to be short-handed again this week.
“We’re going to have to have people step up,” Lewis said.
Salida will host Woodland Park (2-4, 1-4) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
On Thursday, Salida will travel to Colorado Springs Christian (3-3, 2-2) for a 7 p.m. tip off.
Then on Saturday, the Lady Spartans will return home to host La Junta (5-3, 4-2) for a 3 p.m. contest.