Monument - Three seconds into a key Pikes Peak Athletic Conference game against Sand Creek, and Palmer Ridge had already lost its top scorer and rebounder, Ali Meyer, after a freak injury.
From there, things didn't get much better for the home team.
Liah Davis scored 16 points, tied a career-best with 15 rebounds and added five blocks, J'nae Squires poured in a game-high 17 points, and Sand Creek held a short-handed Palmer Ridge to its lowest output this season Tuesday in a 60-30 road blowout.
Meyer, The Gazette's 5A-4A Player of the Year last season, fell awkwardly on her left leg after mistiming her tip-off jump, then crumpled to the floor as the gym fell silent.
"I mistimed my jump, then when I went up to go again, the knee buckled on me," Meyer said. "It doesn't seem too serious, but I'll pray that it's all good. I'm proud of the team. They battled and did a good job."
Meyer said she planned on having the medial collateral ligament examined on Wednesday.
After spotting the Scorpions (6-2, 1-0 PPAC) a quick 6-0 lead, the Bears (6-2, 1-1 PPAC) showed their resolve, quickly tying the game on three consecutive baskets, two by senior Laura McCarthy.
But by the end of the first quarter, Sand Creek had reassumed control with an 11-2 run and stretched that lead to 29-16 at halftime.
Palmer Ridge's offense was unable to reach double digits in any quarter.
"Even if a player goes down, we all need to keep working hard, and just do what we need to do," said McCarthy, who led the Bears with 10 points. "Hopefully, she'll get better soon. We just have to practice hard, dig deep and go for it."
Davis, who was two points from tying her career-high in points, shot 7 of 14 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds in the first half alone, helping Sand Creek to its fifth straight victory.
"I've been working on my outside shot, and we all got into a rhythm here," Davis said. "When one person gets in a groove, the whole team starts doing it, like a chain reaction."
The Scorpions have won all 15 PPAC games since the league formed before last season. Palmer Ridge has lost only three games, all to Sand Creek.
But this one definitely had a different feel after Meyer's injury.
"We love playing them at full strength, and it was hard to see her go down like that," Scorpions coach Jamie Carey said.
"We all wish her a speedy recovery, and hats off to the other kids. They played really hard and certainly played us a much closer game than the final score indicated."