Gaiter, Hearts roll over Raiders, 101-58. End Torrington's five game win streak.
WATERBURY: Okay, so trying to run against a team that thrives on running themselves doesn't always work out so well for one of the teams.
Especially when one of the teams is Sacred Heart, a four-time defending state champion who haven't lost a Naugatuck Valley League game since the Nixon administration and don't seem ready to lose one any time soon after a 101-58 blowout over the Torrington Raiders.
It also doesn't help when your opponent has a player like senior Isiah Gaiter, who went off for his normal 29 points, 17 of them coming in the first half when the game was decided.
To say the visiting team got off to a rocking start would be an understatement, thanks to a 31-8 first quarter by the Hearts as Gaiter had his entire game on display.
"When he is playing well," Hearts head coach John Carroll said. "He makes our entire team better and he did that very well tonight."
Not much went wrong for the Hearts and nothing was going right for the Raiders who saw their five-game winning streak come to a sudden halt.
It was as close to as perfect an opening eight minutes as any team could play.
"I told that to Eric (Gamari) after the game," Carroll said. "I think he took our best swing in terms of assists to turnovers and three-point shooting percentage. We really fired on all cylinders."
Before Torrington could blink, they were down 10-2 with four turnovers over the first two minutes.
The deficit grew quickly from there with Gaiter scoring his 1000th point on a thunderous dunk off a fast break, part of a stretch that saw the senior guard go off for 13 points from all over the court.
The fast-paced offense the Raiders have been running this year was not at fast as the one that was charging at them all night.
"I think part of that is that Eric's guys are up-tempo," Carroll said. "And we like to play that way. It was like a horse race and sometimes when you're racing horses the other guys lead horse just runs faster. I think that"s what happened out there tonight."
Carroll may just have two main scorers in Gaiter and fellow senior Raheem Solomon (27 points) but he also has a 6'11" freshman named Connor Tierney (12-points) who is at times shooting downhill towards the basket.
With pure height closing down the middle and pure athleticism blocking the wings while protecting the basket, there wasn't much room for the Raiders to operate on offense.
The Raiders did come out stronger in the second quarter once they found their footing and closed the gap a bit with a 27-point frame, led by seven points by Joel Villanueva (9 for the game) and six points from Richy Rodriguez (team high 14).
Sacred Heart was relentless on the boards all night and showed just why they are the kings of the mountain in the NVL.
A 30-9 third quarter ended all hopes of a close game on Friday night for the Raiders, but the good news is it just counts as one loss, no matter the final margin.
Next week is a big one for Torrington, with a key game against Iron Division foe Naugatuck on deck for Tuesday night followed by another home game against Wilby on Friday night.