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Basketball victory a tale of turnaround

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It seems that nobody can remember the last time the Littleton boys basketball team defeated city rival Heritage.

The Littleton Lions snapped a long, yet-to-be-resolved losing streak against Heritage with a 62-59 victory on Dec. 12 in the Eagles’ gym

According to MaxPreps records, the Lions were 0-11 against Heritage heading into this season’s game but the intra-city series is older than 12 years.

“It feels good to win,” said Littleton coach Ryan Fletcher. “It’s been a long time for us. It goes back as long as we can think. I know it’s been at least 15 years since we had won.

“Every year we mark this game. It’s one that both schools get up for but it’s been too long since we’ve gotten our share. Our guys were excited and we felt if we played well we would have a chance.’’

Littleton administrators are still searching for documents to verify the last win but many Lions enthusiasts might finally start to believe in that old saying about throwing out records when rivalries are renewed.

“I think that the adage is true,” said Fletcher. “Both teams every year want this game regardless of records, regardless of the scores.”

Senior Jason Levy scored 27 points to spark Littleton’s win.

“It’s been years since we’ve beat them, so I’m really happy,” said Levy. “It’s a rivalry. We focused and practiced hard for this game. We had our minds set right and came out and executed. I really believe any team can win on any day. We wanted it more. We were hungry.”

Heritage coach Jentry Byleveld praised the rival Lions.

“Littleton played a great game,” he said. “They are well coached and played very hard.

“We couldn’t get stops on the defensive end, which ended up hurting our chances to win.”

Milestone wins

Legend boys basketball coach Kevin Boley collected his 400th career victory on Dec. 2 against Ralston Valley.

Jefferson Academy boys coach Mark Sharpley, in his 19th season of coaching after coming to Jefferson Academy from Belleview Christian, joined the milestone 400 win club when the Jaguars beat Gunnison on Dec. 9.

Sharpley’s record is 400-120.

Top-ranked wrestling team

It should not be a surprise, but Pomona is the top-ranked Class 5A wrestling team in Colorado, according to Tim Yount’s On the Mat team rankings.

Pomona is the two-time defending 5A champion and has won three of the past five state titles.

Ponderosa was sixth in the Dec. 15 rankings and Castle View was seventh.

Caton to be inducted

Former Highlands Ranch basketball coach Bob Caton will be one of five individuals to be inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame on March 24, 2017 at the Radisson Hotel in Aurora.

Caton has amassed over 500 wins and has been the head boys coach at Manual, Denver West, George Washington, Aurora Central, Highlands Ranch and currently at Mullen.

Best wishes

At this time of the year, it is time to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season with hopes for the best to come in the year ahead.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

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