Shorthanded

WILTON – Jordan Litts does a lot of things for the Wilton-Lyndeborough High School boys basketball team.

With the senior out with an injury Friday against Epping, the Warriors found out just how much.

WLC scored just two points in the first quarter and trailed by 28 at halftime on the way to a 62-45 loss to the Blue Devils, the defending Division IV champions.

“You take the best player in Division IV out of the mix, and boy oh boy, does it make a difference,” WLC coach Ken Garnham said of Litts. “This was going to go one of two ways. We were either going to have a barnburner of a game, or they were going to blow us out. They blew us out. We just weren’t ready for that intensity. We learned a lot about what we need to do to compete.”

Garnham expects Litts, who injured his right hand in last Wednesday’s win over Derryfield, to return for Monday’s game at Pittsfield.

Ty Carrier led the Warriors (2-1) with 14 points and Trey Carrier was also in double figures with 10, all of which came in the second half. After scoring 23 points through the first three quarters, WLC nearly matched that in the fourth.

“(Epping coach Sean Young) still had some of players out there and he was working on some different things, but that often happens at the end of a game when you’re down by a lot,” Garnham said. “We played hard, hustled and did more things toward the end. We didn’t give up. All those cliches, but it’s true. Our effort in the second half was certainly better.”

The Blue Devils (2-0) got 16 points from Brett Couture while Colby Wilson had 15 points and Dylan Derosier had 12.

“We couldn’t be any happier with the way we came out of the gate,” Young said. “I don’t care what group of guys were on the court, the big thing we pushed was that we were going to come out of the gate and take care of business no matter who we’re playing against.

“We came out with all kinds of intensity. Our goal was to beat them to every loose ball and rebound, get a hand on a ball, crash. I felt like we did a really good job.”

After the Warriors answered Epping’s first basket, the Blue Devils went on a 22-0 run to end the first quarter, thanks in part to their ability to control the glass and eight WLC turnovers.

The lead stretched to 31-5 less than three minutes into the second quarter, but the Warriors started to show signs of life at the end of the half. Then, in the second half, WLC was able to generate more offense as the Blue Devils struggled to play more of a half-court game.

“Being up big at the half, it’s difficult to maintain that intensity,” Young said. “Most of our stuff is out of the full court, where we create a lot of stuff. When we get into a half court, we don’t understand how to have a lot of intensity.”

Garnham was happy to see his guys continue playing hard for the entire second half.

“At times we went inside and did some nice things, and at times, we never got there,” Garnham said. “That’s what eventually we want to do is take advantage of our size, but it’s young size. It’s a work in progress, and I said to them, the team we are now is not the team we’re going to be in February. We have a lot of room for growth.”