Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Littleton Girls Make a Statement

The Littleton High girls basketball team won the Division IV championship this season. They lost only 1 game all year, and that was to White Mountains Regional, the eventual champs in D-III - and Littleton actually beat White Mts. the other time they played each other!

Not only that, but in the D-III vs. D-IV girls game at the Granite Games on Sunday it was the Division IV all-staters who came away with a convincing 73-58 win. The bottom line is that the girls from D-IV deserve some respect, especially the girls from Littleton. The Crusaders have 3 all-state players - Julia Winn, Alyssa Keefe and Taylor Glidden. They led Littleton to the D-IV title and a win in the Granite games over the D-III girls.

"Maybe we were expected to lose but for me personally I always try and play to win no matter who the competition is" said Winn, who had 16 points, 6 assists and 4 steals in the Granite Games win. "The game was a lot of fun, not only because we won, but we had great chemistry right from the start. We all just worked really well together to get one more win in our home jerseys."

Littleton was led all season by their trio of star senior players. Winn and Keefe made first team all-state in Division IV, while Glidden was a second team selection. Winn is a 5'4" point guard who is lightning quick, strong with the ball and can score as well as set her teammates up for shots. Keefe is a strong low post scorer and rebounder at 5'11". Glidden meanwhile (5'9") is a versatile wing player who can hit outside shots but also play in the paint.

"It was great to play one more game with Alyssa and Taylor" Winn told the NH Notebook. "We have been playing together since elementary school so we are very familiar with each other and how we play."

Littleton and Pittsfield were both 20-1 on the season when they met in the championship game at Plymouth State a couple weeks ago. But the Crusaders went up 15-0 in the 1st quarter and went on to win 46-29. Littleton ended the season a perfect 20-0 vs. Division IV competition and the 17 point deficit in the title game was the closest any D-IV team came to beating them all year.

"The feeling was awesome!" said Winn after scoring 14 points in the championship game. "It still feels great. We worked very hard in the off-season with AAU, summer ball as well as team / individual camps. So we developed into strong players in each of our positions, which helped us all through the season. Also we have a huge support system with our families and community. They are always at the games and they had a lot of faith in us. As freshmen one time we looked at the blank space on the gym wall where a championship banner would go and made a promise to our coach that we would fill that spot before we graduated. It took all four years but we did it."

It was the first state title in girls basketball for Littleton since 1996. Back then the Crusaders were in Class M (now Division III). That was their 5th championship, and this year Winn, Keefe, Glidden and company kept the tradition alive by adding banner #6. It was also the first title under 7th-year head coach Dale Prior.

"What I’ll miss most is my team and coaches" said Winn. "I know it sounds cliché, but it’s been a great four years and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls and coaches. As a team we worked really well together and are very close off the court as well."

Teams from the northern part of NH, especially the ones in Division IV definitely don't get as much coverage as they should. This year's Littleton girls basketball team is proof of that. Not only did no one in their division came close to beating them, but they also beat the champion in the division ABOVE them. Winn, Keefe and Glidden led the D-IV all-state team to a convincing win over D-III. And last spring Winn also played in the NH Notebook/BST Basketball North vs. South Clash, where she competed and played very well against some of the top girls talent in the state (and almost beat a team that included Amra Elezovic, Allie Mahan and Anna Sullivan).

"As for whats next, I plan on attending college in the fall and plan to pursue a career in the medical field" said Winn. "As for sports I have a few different options, some in state. But right now my top choice is Liberty University in Virginia. It’s a D-I school and I’d love to play for them. But I know in order to do so I have to put a lot of time and effort in the gym between now and the fall to make it as a walk on."

Congratulations on a great season and best of luck to Julia Winn and the rest of the Littleton girls basketball team.

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