BOYS BASKETBALL: Bangor's Cropp rises to the occasion, gets delayed revenge against Cashton


Bangor senior Samuel Cropp was waiting for this moment. A broken arm during the football playoffs this past October sidelined Cropp for the Cardinals' final two games of that postseason run and then the first half of his final high school basketball season.

That injury, which he suffered in Bangor's Level 2 win over Pepin/Alma, robbed him of his chance to play during the Cardinals' playoff rematch against Cashton the following week. During the regular season, the Eagles had beaten Bangor 14-10 on their way to an outright Scenic Bluffs title.

With Cropp watching from the sidelines, the Cardinals got their revenge with a 17-12 victory in the Level 3 matchup with the Eagles. As satisfying as that was for Bangor, Cropp was naturally disappointed that he couldn't play in a matchup he'd been eagerly anticipating.

Cropp got a chance to face Cashton again in a different arena when he returned to the basketball court. His second game back this season was Bangor's 75-53 home loss to the Eagles on January 18. That only added to his desire for revenge when the Cardinals came into Cashton a month later and denied their rivals the chance to clinch a share of a conference championship.

"That's the game I wanted to play all year. I wanted to get back at them, and I didn't get to do that," Cropp said of that playoff rematch with Cashton during football season. "This game meant the world to me getting to beat them one more time."

Even though the Cardinals themselves had been eliminated from Scenic Bluffs title contention several days earlier, Cropp and his teammates were still dialed in and hungry to give everything they had against their archrivals.

The injury Cropp suffered back in the fall had given him a reminder that every game is something to treasure.

"I tried to make that clear to the rest of the guys, that we have to use every opportunity we get," Cropp said. "Even though conference isn't there, we have to use every opportunity because you only get so many as a high schooler."

The result was a gritty 68-66 win for Bangor on Monday, February 19, where Cropp drilled two 3-pointers and made a couple of clutch free throws in the final minutes of the game. His only points before that last stretch had come on a 3-pointer in the first half.

"This is year four for me and I've been playing varsity sports all four years," Cropp said. "At this point, it's just what you do. You're an athlete. You go make plays. We've been in these situations on bigger levels — state tournaments, we've been there. It's nothing new. Step up to the occasion."

The raucous celebration that followed the win in the locker room made it clear how much it meant to the Cardinals. Now, they hope it carries over into the playoffs.

"We've got a fire now," Cropp said. "We lit a fire and, going into the postseason, we're going to be a little scary."

Bangor Cardinals, Bangor boys basketball, Cashton Eagles, high school basketball, Samuel Cropp


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