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Behind a resurgent boys' basketball team, the Connie Donahue Gymnasium is becoming a very tough place for opponents to visit.

POSTED December 29, 2017
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


TORRINGTON: Don't look now but the Connie Donahue Gymnasium, home of the Raiders boys' basketball team, is starting to rock again after a strong home start for head coach Eric Gamari and his squad.

After an upset win over Crosby (82-74) on opening night and a dominating 81-59 home win over St Paul on Wednesday night, Torrington is once again becoming a tough place for anyone to visit.

What's behind this resurgence?

It's a combination of things that include a talented returning team bolstered by a new/old offense that the team is getting accustomed to.

Their run and shoot offense, one run by former coach Tony Turina during the team's strong runs in the early 2000's, takes advantage of what this team like to do best.

Run, run and then run some more, but now they are doing it in a much more organized fashion, talking advantage of the multiple weapons available to Gamari.

Senior Richy Rodriguez has been one of the keys to the offense at the point guard position and this attacking style of play suits his style to a "T".

The attack is predicated on having Rodriguez being able to distribute the ball to any number of options and to date, he has been effective in the role.

What is has led to has been a pair of large, boisterous crowds that will only grow if the team continues to play well at home.

It has at times been a pretty low-key audience over the past few years but this style of play and the effort the Raiders are showing is helping fuel the momentum in the stands.

The Raiders showed a great deal of heart and a desire not to give up in their opener against Crosby, a team they had not beaten since 2010.

Crosby had answers for the Raiders runs in game one but down the stretch it was the team from the north that made the right plays when they mattered most.

After falling to Waterbury Career Academy in their second game by a 79-63 final (a game that they got off to a great start but could not hold it) the Raiders returned on Wednesday night and made fast work of the Falcons.

Joel Villanueva led the way with 21 points, including four from three-point land on a night that saw the Raiders connect on 14 from downtown.

Donte Thomas added 18 (4 trey's) while Hunter Murphy pitched in with 10 points.

Torrington is on the road the next two games with a good test on deck for Saturday when they travel to take one Immaculate of Danbury at 3 p.m., followed by a road game at Wolcott on Wednesday night.

They return home on Friday, January 5, 2018 to tackle Ansonia in the once again, unfriendly confines (for opponents) of the Connie Donahue Gymnasium.

How long before the "Raider Crazies" make a return visit?

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