Story and photos by Dominic Baima

The home team may have been the Eastern Illinois Panthers, but Saturday many locals swapped out their blue and grey for blue and orange and cheered on Charleston local Shae Littleford.

The Charleston standout set the CHS all-time scoring record last year during the Trojans undefeated season and earned all-state status all four years. Her success has continued with the Skyhawks during her freshman year, including receiving the Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Week honors in January.  

Littleford helped lead her team to a 58-45 win over the Panthers on Saturday at Lantz Arena.

The Skyhawks were slow to get started going into halftime trailing the Panthers 27-23 but adjusted and outscored the Panthers 19-2 in the third to help propel them to the win.

Littleford played 36 minutes, 24 seconds in Saturday’s game, more than any other player on either team, and scored 13 of the Skyhawks’ 58 points, trailing the leading UT Martin scorer by one.

Littleford led the Skyhawks with five assists and recorded two steals.

Retired Charleston High Coach Jeff Miller, in the audience for Saturday’s game, got to watch his former player, an experience he described as awesome. “She’s going to continue to have a lot of success. She’s a hard worker,” said Miller. “I’m really proud of her. She’s a special player who is going to get better and better.”

UT Martin Freshman Guard Shae Littleford poses for photos with fans Saturday at Lantz Arena after the Skyhawks defeated Eastern Illinois 58-45. (Photo/Dominic Baima)

Following the win, while the team went to the locker room to celebrate, Littleford was quickly surrounded by friends, family and fans who wanted to snap a picture and offer their congratulations. “It’s exciting, I got to have a lot of people I know in the stands,” said Littleford. “I was a little nervous coming in, but it was really fun.”

Find additional photos here.