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Crusaders come up short in semis


Team has huge potential in youth pool



Slittleton
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Kuba Kubkowski looks to continue to be an offensive force for the Crusaders next season. James Barrett. (click for larger version)
March 31, 2014
LITTLETON — After the Littleton Crusaders boys' basketball team saw a long series of successes, the season came to an end against an experienced and talented Epping Blue Devils team in the semifinals.

When the season got under way, Littleton head coach Trevor Howard was "cautiously optimistic" of his team's chances this season. With concerns about "experience" at the forefront, Howard was looking to the depth on his bench to go with the "hot hand" night after night. As it turns out, his strategy paid off in the season. The Crusaders only lost two games all season and were looking towards the ultimate prize in the playoffs.

As the number two seed in the playoffs, the Crusaders were privileged to host their first two playoff games at home in Littleton. The first game against the Concord Christian Kingsmen did not start out as one would expect. While the young Crusaders were working out the playoff jitters, the Kingsmen were relishing the role of upsetters as they kept the score tight. However, in the second half Littleton's Kuba Kubkowski took off and put up 17 points, rocketing his team to a victory.

In the second round, the Crusaders had another hurdle to get over. With their long time rivals the Groveton Eagles in town, the Crusaders knew "it would take a team effort to win." But beyond the skill of their opponents, the Crusaders had to deal with a capacity crowd on hand that was "the largest the gymnasium has ever seen."

With little to no room to maneuver on the baselines and sidelines, the Crusaders fought the Eagles and the crowd. In the end the Crusaders team effort was too much for the Eagles to overcome.

In the semifinals the Crusaders traveled to the neutral site of Plymouth State University to take on the Epping Blue Devils. The game started out well for the young Crusaders squad but in the second half the experienced Blue Devils ran away with the game.

It retrospect, the loss to the Blue Devils may have looked bad on paper for the Crusaders. But when looking closer, coach Howard had the opportunity late in the game to give his young players some valuable playoff experience against a championship team. While the young Crusaders were on the court they went on a huge run to cut into the Blue Devils lead.

The future of the Crusaders is very bright. With the young talent on their varsity team this past season able to compete with the very best of Division Four, it is easy to see that the Crusaders will continue to be competitive. Look to players such as Kubkowski and Logan Briggs to be vital to the team's success in the next few years.

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