BOULDER -- The drought was reaching epic proportions, and by the time it ended, the Shining Mountain girls basketball team first had to breathe a sigh of relief before thinking about getting back into the game.

The Lions were blanked for the entire first quarter Thursday night -- and then nearly the first 3 minutes of the second -- in an eventual 34-23 home loss to Gilpin County in a Class 1A 5280 League game.

"The lid was definitely on in the first quarter," Lions coach Michael Hawkes said. "In the first half."

While Hawkes lauded his squad's fighting spirit and its ability to keep a strong Gilpin County (14-5, 5-2) team to a low scoring total, the early funk proved too difficult to overcome.

"I think their belief in themselves grows as the game goes on," Hawkes said. "Sometimes at the beginning of games, they have a little trouble with their own belief and they come out a little tight."

The Lions (9-9, 3-4) finished with a 12-0 run to shave a 23-point deficit to something more aesthetic. Hannah Weinstein nailed two 3-pointers in that late flurry and finished with a team-high 10 points.

Freshman Sarrah Claman added seven points and nine rebounds for Shining Mountain.

"It's tough to start that way, but you have to keep playing," Weinstein said. "You have to persevere. We have to make our layups and close-in shots before we start jacking up 3s."

The Lions played without regulars Dorie Schram and Sophie Schram, the latter of which was available for a few minutes in the second half. That proved to be a tough prospect against a Gilpin County group that advanced to the 1A state tournament last season.

Despite the absence of starting point guard Andromeda Ramsey (knee injury), the Eagles remain a potent bunch. Reserve guard Ashlen Cortez drilled three 3s and finished with 12 points.

Starting post Katura Sales scored eight points and grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds.

"We made a team goal to get at least 48 deflections, jump balls and steals," Sales said. "We really stepped up our ball pressure and our defense as a whole tonight. We really try to attack the boards."

Shining Mountain scored its first point on a free throw by Paisley Sheehan with 5:09 remaining in the first half. The Lions didn't record their first field goal until Weinstein scored at the 3:57 mark of the second quarter.

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Gilpin County 34, Shining Mountain 23

At Shining Mountain HS

GILPIN COUNTY (14-5, 5-2)

Lepro 2 0-0 4, Barr 2 0-0 4, Sales 3 2-4 8, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Peterson 1 0-0 2, Diekman 0 0-0 0, Cortez 4 1-2 12, Siegrist 0 0-0 0, Randall 0 0-0 0, Chareunsouk 2 0-0 4, Buhr 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 3-6 34.

SHINING MOUNTAIN (9-9, 3-4)

Weinstein 4 0-2 10, Sheehan 0 1-4 1, Seim 0 0-0 0, Mason 1 3-4 5, Claman 3 1-4 7, Gershman 0 0-0 0, S. Schram 0 0-0 0. Totals 8 5-14 23.

Score by quarters:

Gilpin County 8 9 9 8 -- 34

Shining Mountain 0 5 5 13 -- 23

3-point field goals -- Gilpin County (3): Cortez 3; Shining Mountain (2): Weinstein 2. Total fouls -- Gilpin County 12, Shining Mountain 8. Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None.