Wilton-Lyndeborough boys hoop team falls to Epping

WILTON – Kyle Pratt and Jordan Litts fired up a struggling Wilton-Lyndeborough boys basketball team Friday night, but the flame burned out too early in the fourth quarter in a 47-41 Division IV loss to Epping.

“This is an area we’ve had concern with this season,” WLC coach Ken Garnham said. “We’ve had mixed results in games like this. We were down versus Franklin and came back and won in the Christmas tournament. We were down versus Inter-Lakes and came back. But we still don’t have that killer instinct. It’s not there yet.”

The Warriors (1-3) struggled early against the visiting Blue Devils (4-1), who dominated from the tip-off and led by 12 after one quarter.

However the Warriors – led by seven-points each from Pratt (16 points) and Litts (13) in the second quarter – charged back to even things 20-20 at halftime. The comeback was highlighted by a 10-0 WLC run to start the second quarter, including a coast-to-coast layup by Pratt and a nice Litts tip-in off a missed Pratt jumper.

Just when momentum seemed to be swinging in WLC’s favor – as the Warriors battled back to grab their first lead of the game, 26-24, on a Patrick Martin bucket with 4:40 remaining in the third quarter – Epping would fight right back.

Down by five, the Blue Devils tied it at 33-33 on a Jimmy Staley 3-pointer and pair of free throws, then regained the lead (36-33) on a Colby Wilson 3-pointer with 31.1 seconds left in the third quarter before slowly pulling away for the win in the fourth quarter.

“That 23 kid hit two big shots,” Garnham said. “That 3 was big. Then 24 hit the 3 and we just couldn’t maintain what we had going.”

That’s not to say the Warriors didn’t have their chances in the final frame, but their opportunities never panned out as the Blue Devils’ defense held Pratt to just one field goal and a pair of free throws while keeping Litts off the scoresheet entirely.

Wilson finished the game with 12 points, including two 3-pointers, while teammate Jimmy Staley was strong inside and outside for a game-high 17 in the win.

“That’s one really good Epping team right there,” Garnham said. “They were a preseason favorite to win the division.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve played in a game like this, against a team as good as they are. We haven’t been in this situation too many times. We had our opportunities.

“Experience was the difference.”