M/cloudy
63°
M/cloudy
Hi 66° | Lo 57°

Boys basketball

WLC boys top Mascenic; Litts leads Warriors

  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.
  • The WLC boys basketball team defeated Mascenic 53-51 on Jan. 14.

Tuesday night’s WLC/Mascenic game was a marquee matchup between two of the area’s best scorers. Mascenic’s Jared Stauffeneker and WLC’s Jordan Litts have already made names for themselves due to their prodigious scoring output, and both teams knew coming into the game that they had to stop those shooters if they wanted to win.

Litts came out shooting early and often, and the Warriors jumped out to an early 15-4 lead. Even in the midst of double and triple teams, Litts was not cowed, and while his early success led to a few forced shots on his part, his scoring output remained consistent. He finished with 34 on the night.

“Lately my three-point shot hasn’t been very good, for the last two games or so,” Litts said, “and today I came in and hit like two or three of them. And the post game works for me every time, so that’s kind of what I was trying to get. I just went out there and tried to win the game for my team, score as much as I can and get the ball to my teammates, and try to win any way we can.”

WLC focused solely on stopping Stauffeneker, and it worked well in the first half. There’s no way to entirely contain the wiry redhead’s signature scoring bursts, of course; Stauffeneker was able to make a steal at the end of the first quarter, shake defender James Edmunds to the floor and nail a buzzer-beating three. He also hit a three while being fouled at the end of the second quarter; however, he was unable to make the free throw and finished the first half with only six points. Stauffeneker, whose reputation precedes him as he enters every gym, is getting used to being blanketed by multiple defenders.

“Well, I’ve seen it for the fourth time this season now,” Stauffeneker said. “Every game, every team is going to try to shut me down because last year I had a big season as a sophomore, so a lot of teams are going to look to shut me down. So, we have to look to get the other guys involved.”

With the Warriors devoting their defensive attention to Stauffeneker, Mascenic’s Shane Rautiola stepped up in a big way. Rautiola scored all 15 of his points in the first half, including three three-pointers that helped Mascenic claw back from an early deficit and go into halftime with a 31-26 lead.

“(Rautiola) has been playing pretty well for us,” Mascenic head coach Jay Starr said. “He’s been hitting the open shots for us, confident, and for any shooter, confidence is the thing. He’s been building his confidence as the season goes along, and we’re expecting even bigger and better things for him as the season goes.”

WLC came out of the half with a few minor, but key, adjustments that made a notable difference in their game. Head coach Ken Garnham urged Litts to share the ball more in the second half, which he did with great success.

“I can pass the ball just as well – probably better – than what I can do scoring,” Litts said, “and my coach knows that. He said I was starting to force my shot a little bit, so I felt like I should start passing the ball a little bit and get my team involved.”

WLC also started paying more defensive attention to Rautiola after his strong first half; the pressure kept him scoreless in the second half but opened up more space for Stauffeneker, who scored ten in the half to finish with 16.

The Warriors trailed by one heading into the fourth, but with five minutes remaining in the game, they went on an 11-2 run and went up 52-49 with 29.5 seconds remaining. Mascenic’s Matt Cyr made a tough layup while being fouled to cut it to one with 14.8 seconds left, but he couldn’t convert the free throw. The Vikings found themselves with three fouls to give before the bonus, so they frantically fouled over and over again before sending WLC’s Kyle Pratt to the line for a one-and-one. Pratt made the first and missed the second, and Mascenic called time with 3.7 remaining, trailing 53-51.

Everyone in the gym knew what was coming next: Mascenic inbounded to Stauffeneker, who flew down the sideline, pulled up over Litts three feet behind the arc and put up a three-pointer at the buzzer.

“All I know is I had to get my hand in his face, try and make it as difficult as I could without getting a foul,” Litts said. “I was scared the whole time, honestly.”

Any look in the opponent’s half of the court is a good look for Stauffeneker, and even deep and under pressure, he got off a good shot, but it rattled in and out and the Warriors breathed a sigh of relief.

“I just kind of shot it and hoped for the best but it just didn’t roll in,” Stauffeneker said. “It just didn’t get that roll.”

“We need to have front and back on him and we didn’t play it correctly, Garnham said, “but we were fortunate. We were very fortunate.”

Garnham was impressed by his team’s performance down the stretch, something that hasn’t been a hallmark of the Warriors’ play in recent years. “We haven’t won a game like that in three years,” Garnham said. “We’ve been in a couple games, and we haven’t been able to get over that hurdle. Today’s the first day, and hopefully we’ll build on that. It was a big win in many ways for us.”

This down-to-the-final possession loss has become a familiar story for the Vikings this year, much to Starr’s chagrin.

“Right down to the wire, it’s a fun way to play but we were on the wrong end of it,” Starr said. ‘That’s kind of been the story of our season so far is third, fourth quarter, we don’t hit the big shots, we don’t make the big plays. We’ve got to get better down the stretch and that’s just the bottom line for our season right now.”

Now 2-3 on the season, WLC hosts Pittsfield Friday night in a rematch of the Warriors’ worst loss of the season, a 21-point blowout on Jan. 7. Mascenic falls to 1-3 and will look to rebound against Sanborn (2-3) tonight.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.