Shae Littleford was forced to leave with an injury about two minutes into the second quarter Monday night.
Olney had just scored to go ahead 12-9 when Littleford fell to the floor in pain.
After she was helped off the court, the predominantly freshmen Trojans squad lost ground and could never recover, losing 52-40 in the Class 3A regional girls basketball tournament opener at Richland County High.
Charleston had lost last Thursday to Olney in its regular-season finale, 71-57. Like in that game, the Trojans kept the score close early in the second quarter Monday. Unlike in that game, top-seeded Olney took over for an entire quarter, outscoring Charleston 19-6 behind a balanced attack to go ahead 29-15 at halftime. Three Tigers scored two baskets in the quarter.
Charleston’s freshmen had been forced to step up this season, especially when Littleford was forced out by a knee injury for six weeks in December. When Littleford returned a few weeks ago, the freshmen slowly started working well with their top player.
In a 61-31 rout of Effingham in Charleston’s regular-season finale last Tuesday, Maggie Goetten nailed five 3-pointers to score a season-high 17 points.
Against Olney (27-4) last Thursday, five freshmen combined to score 31 points in a loss to the Tigers. Erin Blair hit two 3-pointers for 12 points and Delaney Meister added eight.
Charleston eventually matched Olney in the second half Monday, outscoring the Tigers 25-23 over the final two quarters.
Olney advances to play the winner between Effingham-Mt. Vernon, played later Monday night, for the regional title on Thursday.
Gotten 2 0-0 4, Triplett 5 3-3 13, Meister 1 0-0 2, Blair 4 0-0 10, Littleford 0 0-0 0, Herrington 4 3-4 11, Logsdon 0 0-0 0, Davos 0 0-0 0, Lane 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 6-7 40. 3-pointers – Blair 2.