Jayda Winkler

Salida High School junior Jayda Winkler makes a move to get by a Buena Vista defender Tuesday at home. The Lady Spartans rallied in the game but came up 1 point short.

by Cody Olivas

Mail Staff Writer

The Salida High School girls’ basketball rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to have a shot at beating Buena Vista Tuesday at home, but fell 1 point short.

The Lady Spartans pressed Buena Vista in the fourth, forcing several turnovers while clawing their way back into the game. Then, with 22 seconds left, Salida trailed by 1 point and called a time-out. On the ensuing play, Salida created a good look at the hoop, but the final shot bounced in and out of the basket, and Buena Vista took the game, 34-33.

“Obviously it’s a bummer to lose, but we did exactly what we needed to do,” SHS head coach Heather Eagen said. “We took a nice shot, it just didn’t fall. I can’t ask for any more than that.”

While the game was close at the end, Salida struggled early and trailed 11-0 after the first quarter. After another Buena Vista basket to start the second, Salida came alive.

Junior Jayda Winkler stole the ball and went coast to coast for a fast-break layup that got Salida on the scoreboard. After another Winkler basket, juniors Rachel Pelino and Raley Patch sank shots and freshman Isabeau Kaess hit a 3-pointer to help Salida win the second quarter, 11-7, and go into halftime trailing 18-11.

The Lady Demons won the third quarter 14-9, but Pelino scored 7 in the third to keep Salida in it. Senior Zakiah Berry also made a bucket in the third.

In the fourth, the Lady Spartans made things exciting.

“We just had the intensity,” Eagen said.

Sophomores Toby Lawson and Ari Howell, Kaess and Pelino all made shots during Salida’s comeback. Unfortunately for Salida, its last shot didn’t fall.

“The fact that we can come back from 13-0 in a rivalry game is pretty exciting,” Eagen said. “I thought we played good. We didn’t score for 12 minutes, but it wasn’t because we were playing bad.”

The loss ends Salida’s season with a 2-16 overall record and 0-10 3A Tri-Peaks League mark; the win over James Irwin didn’t count as a league contest. The Lady Spartans won’t make the league tournament this season.

“It was a long season and losing is hard, but I’m proud of the progress we made as a team,” Eagen said. “I feel like we played our best basketball at the end.“

Buena Vista improved to 11-8 overall and 6-4 in the league.

Tuesday’s game was also the last for seniors Zakiah Berry and Savanah Nuzum, who both started for the Lady Spartans.

“That was Savanah’s first time on varsity and she was excited to be up, and Zak was pumped to get to jump (for the jump ball) for the first time,” Eagen said. “It sucks the season was short, but I think they’re both happy with the season and enjoyed it.”