CHS freshman Erin Blair (left) scored 12 points Thursday night.

In a prelude to next Monday’s regional opener, Charleston lost to Olney 71-57 at Richland County High on Thursday night.

The Trojans (9-17) kept the score close against the region’s No. 1-seeded team early, even taking the lead for a short while in the second quarter.

But Olney took control on the boards, outrebounding Charleston to help them score 40 second-half points.

Shae Littleford scored 26 points to lead Charleston. Like in the Trojans’ home finale, several freshmen played well. Maggie Goetten, who scored a personal-best 17 points Monday, got things going Thursday with a 3-pointer and played solid throughout the game. Plus, Erin Blair made two 3-pointers to score 12 while Delaney Meister added eight and Alycia Triplett chipped in six.

“We competed,” Charleston coach Jeff Miller said, “minus the quarter and a half. We had the lead for a while. I was excited about that.”

Olney, which led 31-25 at halftime, slowly padded its lead over the next two quarters.

“It’s amazing how much these kids have grown,” Miller said. “I’m not sure anybody could appreciate how well they now execute and compete without having watched them all year. I’m as proud of this team as I am of the 29-1 team last year.”

Charleston faces Olney in the IHSA Class 3A regional at Richland County on Monday night. The winner of that game faces either Effingham or Mt. Vernon for the championship.

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Goetten 1 0-0 3, Triplett 3 0-0 6, Meister 3 2-2 8, Blair 5 0-1 12, Littleford 10 3-4 26, Herrington 0 2-2 2. Totals 22 7-10 57. 3-pointers – Goetten 1, Blair 2, Littleford 3.