Christiano, Royals lead Torrington into NVL Tournament Finals
WATERBURY – When it comes to timing, Torrington’s Taylor Christiano couldn’t have picked a better spot to have her best game of the season.
The Red Raider senior poured in 27 points, grabbed seven rebounds and led No. 2 Torrington over third-seeded Woodland in a romp, 72-48, in the semifinals of the NVL Tournament Monday night at Kennedy High School.
This win sets up a third matchup between the Red Raiders and Holy Cross, one of the top rivalries in the state. The teams split their two regular season matchups with Torrington winning the last battle on Sarah Royals’ four-point play at the buzzer.
As for Monday, Torrington blew open a two-point contest after one by outscoring the Hawks, 41-20, over the second and third quarters.
Christiano scored 10 of those points during that span, drawing the praise of Torrington head coach Mike Fritch.
“What a game she had,” Fritch said. “She was spectacular. She demanded we get her the ball, which was really good for us.”
Christiano’s aggressiveness in the paint was no match for the Hawks, who couldn’t afford to double team her because of Royals’ presence on the perimeter.
“When you get that feeling on a roll, you have to ask loud for the ball,” Christiano said. “I thought we did a great job focusing on this game (and not looking ahead to Holy Cross). We are here to win this whole thing and we played like that tonight.”
Following the game, Royals was named the NVL’s Top Senior for the 2010-11 season. Prior to accepting that award, she put on a performance worthy of that honor, scoring 19 points, grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out five assists, swiping five steals and even blocking a shot.
Depth was a big difference in this game with three Red Raiders finishing with at least 17 points, including Alyssa Otis, who notched 17.
Heather Framski paced the Hawks with 22 points and seven rebounds and Lindsey Feducia added 15. No other Woodland player finished with more than seven.
After taking a 31-21 at the half, the Red Raiders ran Woodland off the floor in the third, outscoring the Hawks by a 23-10 margin. Torrington dominated the quarter in every fashion, forcing four turnovers and committing none, and controlling the boards, 11-1. Royals scored eight points in the period, including two difficult lay-ups in traffic.
Now the focus for Torrington turns to Wednesday for Round 3 against Holy Cross at Kennedy High School. With the way this season has gone in the league, it's only fitting for these teams to meet again.
“The girls really want this, and it showed by the way we played today,” Fritch said of his 21-1 team. “Obviously, this isn’t as big as next week (the state tournament), but the girls don’t care. This is really big for them.”