But the second half brought with it new life for the Jaguars. Ashley Willoughby and Liza Miller scored the first two buckets of the second half and paced a 9-2 run for East to start the half.
"I felt we played really well in the second half," Sallee said. "I thought we came out with some aggressiveness on the offensive end, and we shot the ball a little bit better."
The Jaguars outscored the Patriots 12-8 in the third quarter and 13-11 in the fourth to close the distance. The 25-19 effort in the second half pleased Sallee.
"Overall, I felt pretty good coming in to their home floor and being down 16 at the half, and come back and get a real good effort in the second half - and really, we outplayed them in the second half," he said.
The second half cut the 16-point deficit to 10, mostly from offensive adjustments.
"We worked on spacing and just being more aggressive going to the basket," Sallee said. "We were a little tentative in the first half. They're a very good defensive team and they collapse well. And when they collapse you have to kick it instead of trying to force it on in there."
Sallee credited his team's effort defensively throughout the entire game for keeping the Patriots from running away with an easy win. The Jaguars held the Patriots to their second lowest point total on the season.
"If you hold this team to 42 points, then you've done a good night's job defensively," Sallee said.
Willoughby was the game's top scorer with 11 points. Miller and Mitchell both picked up nine points in the losing effort.
Lafayette 53, Jags 36
After scoring 70-plus points in the first two games of the season at home, the Jaguars have been held under 40 in two consecutive road games. After traveling to Lincoln Friday night, the Jaguars traveled to Bryan Station to take part in the Defenders Classic. There East fell 53-35 to Lafayette.
Mitchell's 14 points were a game-high. Willoughby collected 10 points while Emily Underwood tossed in seven.
Again, the first half was the culprit for the Jags. Lafayette outscored the Jaguars 17-8 in the first quarter and 18-5 in the second quarter to take a 35-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Jaguars bounced back with a 9-7 third quarter and a 14-11 fourth quarter to get within 17.
East was scheduled to host Madison Southern Monday night but weather forced the game to be postponed. They will take part in the 4-day 15th Annual Lady Pirate Classic at Berea starting Friday. The Jags stay on the road to begin 2009 and return home Jan. 12 to take on Burgin. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.