Shae Littleford scored 10 points Monday night. (Photo/Mike Moore)

Charleston’s Shae Littleford scored 10 points Monday night against Mt. Zion in her first game back since a knee injury sidelined the junior in mid-December.

That the Trojans lost 51-36 at Mt. Zion is likely tempered somewhat by knowing their all-state guard was able to play an entire game.

Although Littleford, who’s already committed to UT-Martin, scored far less than the 26 points she had made against the Braves back in December on 11-of-19 shooting – and less than half her 20-plus scoring average – she was able to score in each quarter Monday night.

Charleston (7-13) has struggled without Littleford. With her, the Trojans had gone 5-4 through the Mt. Zion game on Dec. 12. Since then, they have won two of 10 games. Aside from the forfeit by Cairo, the Trojans have lost by an average of 23.7 points per game, winning one game on the court while playing primarily freshmen over that stretch.

After losing two straight games by a combined 79 points in the Charleston Holiday Tournament, Trojans coach Jeff Miller had said it was unfair that his young squad was not getting a chance to slowly develop, which has been the key to Charleston having won more than 20 games a season over the past five seasons, including a 29-1 mark and regional title last season.

After those two Dec. 28 games, Miller had said: “Ideally, they (freshman) would get a lot of time to develop and a lot of minutes at those levels over the course of the season.  These girls are basically just getting thrown into this varsity situation and it’s ‘Here you go: sink or swim.’ I feel bad for them, but I think our effort has been pretty good.”

The Trojans had nearly defeated Taylorville two weeks ago, losing 40-37.

On Monday night, freshman Alycia Triplett continued to develop, scoring a team-high 16 points on six field goals and four-of-nine free throws.

Charleston next travels to play Mattoon at noon on Saturday. The Green Wave won the first game, 68-27, which had been only the second game after Littleford was sidelined.

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CHARLESTON (36): Goetten 1 0-0 2, Hutchins 1 0-0 2, Triplett 6 4-9 16, Meister 1 2-2 4, Blair 0 0-0 0, Littleford 4 2-2 10, Herrington 0 2-2 2. Totals 13 10-15 36. 3-pointers – none.