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Littleton upsets Colebrook to reach final four


March 03, 2010
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COLEBROOK — MC Hammer gave us "U Can't Touch This" and brought rap music mainstream with Hammertime. Twenty years later Littleton High gives us Sam Brammer. The sophomore guard brought Littleton to the Class S Tournament final four after helping dispatch Colebrook Academy with a heavy dose of Brammertime.

He scored a game-high 27 points in a 74-66 quarterfinal upset victory last Friday and left the top-seeded Mohawks muttering "U Can't Guard This."

Brammer knocked down five three-pointers in the first period and tallied 17 points in the opening eight minutes. After the victory Brammer did some wondering himself — why stop here?

"We had three goals (this season) and our second goal was to get to Plymouth (for the Class S final four)," Brammer said. "It doesn't matter who we face we're going to bring a hard game to them."

Eighth-seeded Littleton (13-7) advanced to Tuesday's semifinal at Plymouth State University where it faced fourth-seeded Derryfield (17-3). Colebrook's season ended at 17-3. Derryfield moved on to the final four after defeating fifth-seeded Woodsville 70-69 in the quarterfinals. The Class S championship game is set for Friday at PSU.

Littleton's quarterfinal victory over Colebrook hinged on Brammer's outside touch.

"The first quarter was all Sam," said Littleton coach Trevor Howard. "Sam was obviously huge — all night long. Tonight he was phenomenal. For a sophomore to play the way he did was very impressive."

Brammer sank a three-pointer just 10 seconds after the opening tip and the Crusaders never surrendered the lead. He canned his fourth three-pointer with 4:26 left in the first period to extend the Crusaders cushion to 16-4. Brammer's fifth three-pointer put Littleton up 19-11 with 1:45 left in the opening frame.

Brammer's early flurry opened up the inside for Littleton in the second period. Littleton senior forward Justin Whipple (19 points) was shut out in the first period but flourished after Brammer extended Colebrook's defense.

"(Colebrook) had to come out and overplay," Howard said. "We had mismatches underneath."

Whipple canned three buckets from within the paint in the second quarter and senior center Mike Sheppard (13 points) added a pair of baskets from close range in the second period. The Crusaders held Colebrook to just six points in the second quarter and controlled the tempo. Sheppard said Brammer's hot hand made it easier to get open inside.

"He killed. He won the game," Sheppard said. "It definitely made it easier for me, Justin (Whipple), Josh (Smith) underneath."

Sheppard scored with 1:30 left before halftime and the Crusaders led 38-25 at the break.

"My boys hung tough," Howard said. "I told them at halftime that (Colebrook) would make runs at us and they definitely did. They don't lose often up here."

Top-seeded Colebrook proved its mettle with an 11-0 run to start the third quarter. The surge pulled the Mohawks within a bucket, 38-36.

"I knew (Colebrook) was going to come right at us and they did. We started turning it over," Howard said. "We started panicking a little bit. But we've been working on this stuff in practice every day and it paid off."

Brammer stopped the bleeding with his sixth three-pointer of the evening to give Littleton a 41-36 margin with 5:21 left in the third period. Brammer's three-pointer kicked off an 11-2 Littleton surge with Whipple and Sheppard each scoring a pair of baskets during the run. Sheppard capped the run with a basket and Littleton extended its margin to 49-38 with 2:54 left in the third period.

Littleton led 56-46 going into the fourth period. Colebrook pulled within three points (60-57) on a basket by Jared Raymond with 2:29 left in the game. Littleton senior forward Josh Smith's acrobatic reverse layup with 2:10 remaining pushed the lead back to five points.

Raymond scored with 1:16 left to get the Mohawks back within three (65-62). Littleton stayed composed — took advantage of the bonus — and sank 9-of-11 free throws in the final 1:10 to hang on to the victory.

"We withstood them. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. It never is up here," said Howard, in his 13th season at the helm. "It just went back and forth. You probably couldn't get a better high school basketball game than this right here."

Howard's senior center begged to disagree.

"I hope not," Sheppard said. "I hope we've got two more better ones."

Littleton

Aaron Clark 1 2-2 4, Josh Brammer 9 2-3 27, Josh Smith 3 1-2 7, Justin Whipple 7 5-7 19, Mike Sheppard 6 1-4 13, Jesse Ledoux 0 2-2 2, Tom Quillin 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 13-20 74. Three-point goals: Brammer 7.

Colebrook

Scott 9 1-2 21, B. Griffin 4 1-4 9, Fenn 1 0-0 2, T. Griffin 6 2-3 14, Raymond 7 2-5 16, Leach 2 0-2 4. Totals 29 6-16 66. Three-point goals: Scott 2. Fouled out: Raymond.

Score by quarters

Littleton 23-15-18-18 — 74

Colebrook 19-6-21-20 — 66

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