Newcomers step up in Torrington girls basketball 42-31 opening night win over Woodland.
TORRINGTON: This is going to take some time.
You don’t just pour concrete and then step right in it; you have to give it time to solidify.
The Torrington girls’ basketball team is going to be a work in progress for a while as the 2015-2016 campaign gets underway.
Why would it not?
Critical pieces are back in, including one of the top players in the Naugatuck Valley League, junior Brie Pergola along with junior Alexis Tyrrell and seniors Caitlyn Cornish and Ashlynn Cook.
Aside from those folks, it’s a new group left with the task of defending the NVL title they won a year ago.
Night one goes into the books as a win after a 42-31 decision over Woodland behind 13-points from Pergola and some key contributions from a few of the newcomers.
Freshman Alyssa Maria started at point guard, a huge responsibility for a first year player but Maria was up to the task.
Another first year Raider, Shannon Reardon made her biggest contribution when the Hawks had come back from an eight point deficit to tie things at 24 all off an 8-0 run.
Head coach Mike Fritch saw both good and bad on night one.
“I like that we held the lead,” Fritch said, “and we didn’t give it up when they got close. We buckled down and took care of business.”
The not so good involved something the Raiders can count on seeing all year when it comes to their talented junior.
“What I didn’t like was that we didn’t screen for each other,” Fritch said, “Brie is going to see a lot of that (being double teamed) this year.”
Pergola will have to work about as hard as she ever has to find the ball. Woodland had Carla Piccolo (game high 14 points) blanket Pergola all over the court when the Raiders had the ball.
Woodland held the Torrington star to just a pair of free throws in the first half before Pergola went more on the attack in the second half.
It will be a common plan by opponents so the experience the newcomers gained in game one was invaluable.
“We had some other kids step up as well,” Fritch said, “I mean, Alexis (Tyrrell) played a great game and Shannon (Reardon, nine points) made some big buckets.”
Reardon made a huge three-pointer in the second quarter after making the game winning shot in the opening junior varsity contest with just four seconds left in regulation.
“I was very nervous at first,” Reardon said, “But then it came to me and I did what I wanted to do.”
Standing up to a challenge like the one that presented itself in that critical part of the third quarter was a lesson that will help Torrington down the road.
Take a punch but come back punching yourself.
Reardon started the roll, Pergola (two buckets) and Tyrrell stretched the lead that the home team made stand up.
What will it take to help the concrete of this new team solidify?
“I just think we need more time to play together,” Cornish said, “We need to focus in games and I think we have a lot of potential as a team.”
Game two is coming up Friday night when they face the newest team in the NVL, Career Magnet at 7 p.m.
NOTES: A reminder, Friday night is the First Annual Litchfield County Sports Food and Toy Drive. We will be set up right outside the gym to collect items that will go to Friendly Hands Food Bank, Fish and the PAL Stuff-a Bus program.