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Marcus Littleton of Norwalk has become the first signee for Southwestern’s class of 2011-12. Littleton, a hot-shooting guard, helped lead his team to the Class 3A Final Four this season. He will bring a valid scoring threat to the Spartan’s backcourt, and fundamentally has many skills to execute the complex Spartan offense.
"Marcus was a key guy in our recruiting efforts," Spartan Head Coach Mike Holmes said. "We need someone who can replace our scoring guards and who is ready to make contributions right away." Holmes is confident about his selection in Littleton. "Knowing Chris Larson (Littleton's high-school coach) like I do, I know Marcus will be sound mentally and physically," Holmes explained. "I like Marcus as much as a person as I do a player. This signing immediately makes us better."
Photo (L to R): Sitting – Marcus Littleton, Sr., Marcus' dad; Marcus Littleton, Jr.; Mike Holmes, SWCC head men's basketball coach; Nancy Pattee, Marcus' mom; and Steve Pattee, Marcus' stepdad. Standing – Chris Larson, Norwalk High School head boys basketball coach.
After splitting with Ellsworth during the regular season, the rubber match of the series proved to be a thriller. Tied at half, Southwestern got command of the game in the second half behind torrid shooting and sound defensive play. Nursing an eight-point lead with just under five minutes to play, Southwestern got passive against a tenacious Ellsworth press and saw the lead dwindle. After an offensive rebound on a missed free throw, the Panthers took a late lead. Down 65-64 with 29 seconds to play at 20 seconds on the shot clock, Southwestern made the decision to defend rather than foul. Ellsworth connected on a field goal with 12 second remaining to lead 67-64. Southwestern had two shots at the tie at the end after an Austin Emerson miss was rebounded by Keenan Joiner and kicked back to Emerson for a second try. When the shot hit off the back iron, Southwestern’s season had ended. Head Coach Mike Holmes said, “Our guys executed our plan and we had a tremendous opportunity to win. It hurts more when you feel like you had the game in hand and let it slip away. They are a tremendously talented team and made big plays when they needed them most. I feel our players, once time passes, will reflect and feel like their 14 wins were an accomplishment that symbolizes their competiveness and execution this season.”
The Spartans headed into their final home game of the season with a big task at hand, playing the conference leaders, the Kirkwood Eagles. Looking to notch a second loss in the Kirwood season, the Spartan men played hard takeing a three point deficit into the half, 24-27. Continuing their tough play in the second half, the Spartans stayed within striking distance until the Eagles when on a scoring run for nine points. Final score for the game left left the Spartans on the bottom and the Eagle with a single conference loss for the season.
UPDATE: The Spartans will lead off their post-season play vs. Ellsworth at 7 pm. on Wednesday, March 2. All tournamet pairings and final season standings can be viewed on the ICCAC Web site. Go Spartans!
Not many teams beat Division I Indian Hills on their home floor, and Southwestern, despite a good effort, was no exception in a Tuesday 67-52 loss in Ottumwa. After taking a 25-15 lead, Indian Hills could not put the pesky Spartans away, as Austin Emerson managed to keep Southwestern close going into half, 34-26. The Spartans fired out of the gate in the second half, and with help from two Luke Sealer baskets, cut the lead to 1 at 38-37. From there, the margin bounced between six and two points most of the evening. With three minutes to go and a six-point lead, the Warriors hit an off-balance look with 1 second on the shot clock, forcing the Spartans into a hurry-up mode. Southwestern misconnected on a three-point attempt and then was forced to foul, leading to the final margin. Southwestern is 14-12 overall, and next plays a key conference road game in Mason City against North Iowa Area.