Littleton surpasses last year’s win total

Posted 12/16/08

In 22 games last season, the Littleton High School girls basketball team managed just five total victories. The Lions were 1-11 in Continental …

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Littleton surpasses last year’s win total


In 22 games last season, the Littleton High School girls basketball team managed just five total victories. The Lions were 1-11 in Continental Conference play and 4-6 in non-conference games.

After seven games of this 2008-09 season, Littleton is already showing the improvement that second-year head coach Tom Bradbury is aiming for.

Thanks to a 3-1 record at an invitational tournament hosted by Thornton High School Dec. 11-13, Littleton has posted a mark of 6-1 in the early going, surpassing last season’s win total with a 67-25 whitewashing of Englewood in its final game of the non-conference tourney Dec. 13.

But don’t think the early success is going to the Lions’ heads.

“Starting off the season losing always lowers your confidence, and we went through that last year,” senior Tanecia Quillen said. “This year it feels good, but it will feel better if we continue through league play.”

“Teams in our league are at the top of the state, so we’re building toward that,” junior Maddie Craver said. “This is a good way to start off and we’re really coming together as a team, which I think is the most important thing.”

The Lions are also establishing Craver as a legitimate scoring threat. Through seven games thus far, Craver has doubled her output from a year ago in averaging 14 points per game and her prowess was on full display during Littleton’s action the morning of Dec. 13 against host Thornton.

In a 64-35 victory, Craver netted a career-high of 31 points for the Lions, including 15 during the first quarter alone.

“She’s really focused right now and gaining confidence,” Bradbury said. “With her athleticism, she can get the ball pretty much any time she wants 10 to 12 feet from the basket, and if she can make it a 4- to 6-foot play she’ll be even better.”

Craver was responsible for the first six LHS points versus Thornton. Quillen then broke a 6-6 tie with 3:55 to go in the opening frame, sparking a 14-5 run by the Lions that allowed them to go up by nine and never look back. Craver would score nine of the next 12 points to close the quarter, including a quick-hitter off an inbound pass and a strong drive that drew a foul and resulted in a three-point play.

Chelsie Flag closed the first quarter with a 3-pointer to give LHS a 20-11 advantage.

Littleton pushed the lead up to 15 points at 28-13 midway through the second quarter thanks to an 8-2 surge led by Emma Neal’s four points, including an offensive rebound and put-back, and held the advantage at 35-20 going into halftime.

Having inched the lead to 17 points after three quarters of play, 47-30, free throws by Stephanie James and Quillen put Littleton up by 20 with 3:54 to play before opening up the offense. Flag and Quillen each hit a pair of 3-pointers during the final minutes of play, further sealing the fate of the Trojans.

Quillen finished the game with 10 points while Flag had nine to go along with five assists.

In the second game for Littleton Dec. 13 — and the final game of the Thornton tournament — the Lions were untested in a 67-25 rout of Englewood. In fact, the Pirates (0-6) turned the ball over 14 times during the first quarter alone and finished the game with more than 30.

Littleton’s defensive pressure held Englewood scoreless for the first 6:15 of play and did not allow the Pirates more than nine points in a single quarter. Englewood only scored two points in the third quarter.

Quillen led the Lions in this one, scoring 10 first-quarter points and finishing with 19 overall. Craver added 12 points and James 11 while Ashley Gruber had eight. James also had five assists kicking the ball out from the post.

Also in tournament play, Littleton downed Skyview 69-33 Dec. 12 after opening play in Thornton Dec. 11 with a 49-39 loss to Wheat Ridge.


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