Warriors win basketball title

PLYMOUTH – Jordan Litts had found little room to shoot all afternoon.

But suddenly, when the Wilton-Lyndeborough High School senior wanted to pass the ball, he found himself with a little bit of daylight.

Litts let a 3-pointer fly, and when the shot found the bottom of the net, the No. 4 Warriors had taken a two-point lead over No. 3 Epping with under 30 seconds to play in the Division IV boys basketball championship game at Plymouth State University.

Epping took a timeout, and with the clock winding down, Litts stole the ball, went the length of the court and laid it in seconds before the final buzzer ended a 50-46 victory for WLC.

The championship is the first in boys basketball in the school’s history, and Litts led the way, scoring 19 of his game-high 22 points in the second half. Trey Carrier kept the Warriors (18-4) in front in the first half, getting 13 of his 15 points, and the sophomore added 13 rebounds.

“Words don’t explain how you feel when you win, it’s just amazing,” Litts said. “Honestly, I wanted to pass the ball, but no one was open. I was like ‘all right, I’ll take the shot.’ I made two (3-pointers) over in the corner before, so this part of it is doing good. Thank God I made it. It felt amazing, but we still had 30 seconds left, so I didn’t want to cheer too much. I was cheering a little bit.”

Although the Warriors had struggled shooting from the outside all game – WLC finished 5 of 18 from 3, with Litts making four of them – Garnham had faith in his leading scorer.

“That was the shot,” Garnham said. “He has a green light, and not every shot is pretty. Not every shot we like, but if he has daylight and he’s in his range, he has the green light.

“That shot right there, he had a look. They were off him a little bit and he stuck it. That’s what we wanted.”

And it’s what the Warriors needed. After Epping scored the first points of the game, WLC took the lead and held on to it into the third quarter.

When Litts was fouled on a 3 and completed a four-point play with 4:20 left in the third, WLC had its biggest lead of the game and all the momentum. And just like that, it disappeared.

Colby Wilson (19 points) hit two 3’s sandwiched around two free throws by Dylan Derosier (12 points) to give the Blue Devils
(17-5) a 34-33 lead.

Jackson Rivers added another 3 and then a layup to complete 12-0 run and give Epping a six-point lead.

“Last year here, we were down 17 points (and won),” Epping coach Sean Young said of his team’s win in the 2014 title game. “In the first half, we were walking the ball up. There was no pushing, it was all dribbling. We made that adjustment, but it started defensively. We started beating them to every loose ball, we started to get rebounds and we kept them off the offensive glass.”

It grew to a seven-point lead early in the fourth, 42-35, and the Blue Devils started to slow things down.

“I thought when they were up seven, I thought we were in trouble, and they did try and pull the ball out,” Garnham said. “We had opportunities and fouled them or they missed a shot. We got the ball back and we tried to get them out of that stall they had.”

The Blue Devils didn’t help themselves out, missing the front end of a one-and-one twice in the final two minutes, and going 9 of 14 from the line for the game.

A layup by Brett Couture with 4:54 left put Epping up 44-38 and the Warriors closed the game on a 12-2 run, with Litts scoring 10 of those points.

“I saw a quote by Kobe Bryant, I think it was two years ago, that said ‘I’ll go 0 for 30 before I go 0 for 0,’ ” he said.

“I’m not going to let me missing a couple of shots in a row keep me from shooting because I know my guys need me to score points. I’m going to do what I’ve got to do.”

And now WLC has a boys basketball championship to show for it.