Subpar second half sinks Littlestown boys in District 3 Class 4-A basketball final
- The Littlestown boys' basketball season came to a close on Thursday night.
- The Thunderbolts fell to Middletown in the District 3 Class 4-A final, 69-53.
- Littlestown led 21-19 at halftime, only to get outscored 50-32 in the second half.
- Littlestown finished at 17-4. Middletown improved to 15-4.
MIDDLETOWN — For Littlestown, Thursday night began and ended with car horns honking and emergency service vehicle escorts.
When the Thunderbolts’ team bus left town for the District 3 Class 4-A title game at Middletown, their family, friends and fans cheered on the team. It was the Blue Raiders, however, that celebrated the District 3 Class 4-A championship in the parking lot with a caravan of honking cars and sirens after a 69-53 victory.
The game marked the first district title game appearance for the Bolts in more than four decades and added to the decorated careers of the seniors, who have won four straight York-Adams League Division III championships.
“It started year one,” Littlestown coach Jonathan Forster said. “These guys built the program up that first year and it has continued to build, and these guys took it to another level this year … The town is behind these guys 100%. It’s just a shame they couldn’t experience the full experience. These guys mean a lot to the community.”
Despite the lopsided final score, the first 16 minutes of the contest were highly contested. No. 4 seed Littlestown (17-4) held a 2-point lead at halftime, but a major run by Middletown to open the second half led to the win. The second-seeded Blue Raiders (15-4) opened the third quarter with a 13-0 run and it took the Bolts nearly four minutes to score a point.
Seniors Jayden Weishaar and Rachard Holder were the only Littlestown players to score in the quarter and did their best to keep the team close enough to have a chance at a comeback.
“They just pressured the ball. They play a fantastic defense,” Forster said. “They got stops (and) we missed a couple looks early in the half and (had) a couple turnovers here and there and you look up and the scorer gets away a little bit.”
Losing Weishaar: The Blue Raiders’ lead hovered between eight and 12 points for most of the fourth quarter before the Bolts’ lost their leader and any control of the game. Weishaar was fouled hard and didn’t appreciate it. He received a technical foul for his actions toward a player and then another for a comment to an official.
Forster had to console the standout senior as he was forced to leave the floor for the final time and tried to reassure him of the success he had during his career.
“You have accomplished a ton in four years,” Forster said of his message to Weishaar. “You’re a 1,400-1,500-point scorer and you have a bright future.”
Middletown pulled away and pushed the lead up to 16 and closed the game with consecutive 25-point quarters after being held to 19 total points in the first half.
Weishaar led Littlestown with 17 points and fellow seniors Braden Unger had 10 and Holder chipped in nine.
Seeing the positives: Despite the loss, Forster saw a positive performance from one of the few key players returning next season. Freshman Christopher Meakin scored 12 points and played major minutes with sophomore Jake Bosley battling foul trouble and an injury. Forster has high hopes for the 6-foot, 6-inch forward who has shown a drive to get better and continues to grow in height and skills.
“It’s huge getting these minutes out of a freshman in a district title game,” Forster said. “He comes in and he’s not shying away. His upside is through the roof.”
Although the playoff run ended before he hoped, Forster made sure his players knew how special this season was. The Bolts’ coach knew it might take some time before the current feeling of disappointment wears off, but he is certain it will be replaced with a pride toward the year they endured and all they achieved.
“We tell these guys every season at the beginning, the memories they make throughout the year are going to be unforgettable,” Forster said. “This one especially with all the stuff they had to deal with the past year. They’ll never forget this stuff. They might not get it right now, but five years from now I guarantee they will be talking about this one. It was a good ride.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.