Pergola goes off for 29, Raiders take care of Kennedy, 52-40.
TORRINGTON: I’m not going to kid you. I’m getting this opening line from another source but I can say I was thinking along the same wave length.
Torrington boys’ soccer coach Mike Fritch Jr, who keeps the scorebook during Raider girls’ basketball games, summed up what he was witnessing as senior Brie Pergola was going off for 29 points in a 52-40 win over Kennedy on Monday night.
“Brie is re-introducing herself as the best player in the Naugatuck Valley League,” Fritch said.
Couldn’t have said it better and for his father, Mike Fritch Sr, it has been a long time coming but a welcome sight nonetheless.
Pergola, who is within range of scoring 1000 points in a career that included missing most of last season due to injury, has at times been reluctant to take over games when her teammates needed her to because of the unselfish nature of her play.
A magnificent passer, the senior guard was a facilitator first and a scorer second.
Every good team needs that go-to player. The one the coach can nudge and say, “Hey I need 25 from you tonight” or the player that senses that her mates are having an off night on the offensive side of the ball and takes the job onto herself.
On Monday night against an Eagles team that came in with a 6-1 record, the Raiders needed that effort from their talented guard and while they got the points over the course of the game, the facilitator was out as well early with nifty passes to both Shannon Reardon (10 points) and Sidnee Kovall (8 points) as the home team raced out to an 8-0 lead.
Pergola had three assists in the opening frame to go along with four points as Torrington ended the first eight minutes firmly in control at 16-3. For good measure, Pergola blocked two shots on one Kennedy possession, part of a four-block night.
All nine points in quarter two belonged to the ultra-aggressive guard who has the ability to score from the inside or out when her shot is falling and the home team went into the break leading 25-11.
Pergola looks fresh and healthy. Last year was a rough one that never seemed to get going and after a leg injury ended her campaign, so did the Raiders chances of getting much done.
This year, the shot looks smooth and strong while the free throws are flowing easily from her hands (8-8 from the line on Monday night).
The balance of her game was on display as well with six rebounds to go along with those four blocked shots, nicely filling up the stat sheet.
“I definitely figured I need to start scoring more and doing a little more of everything, than I was in the first couple of games,” Pergola said. “That’s what I have been trying to do mostly.”
It looks to be shaping up to be a three-team race in the Naugatuck Valley League this year with the top three teams being St Paul (7-0), Holy Cross (8-1) and the Raiders (6-1) who should be unbeaten if not for a tough fourth quarter against the Crusaders earlier this year.
Kovall pitched in with those eight points and a pair of blocks while Sara Bardwell pulled down five boards. Torrington converted on 13 of 14 free chances, a big improvement.
It all starts and ends with number 13 though, and the more she can take over, the better the Raiders will fare as the season rolls on.
“I just have to drive more and keep up my intensity while I’m out there,” Pergola said. “I felt good out there tonight.”
Torrington 52, Kennedy 40
Kennedy 3 8 17 12 40
Torrington 16 9 13 14 52
Kennedy (40): Raegan Davis 3-2-9, Shyan Perez 2-0-5, Joyce Benton 5-3-13, Ashley Lamb 2-3-7, Yakira Edwards 2-0-4, Hannah West 1-0-2: Totals: 15-8-40
Torrington: (52): Alexis Tyrrell 1-1-3, Brie Pergola 10-8-29, Sidnee Kovall 4-0-8, Shannon Reardon 3-4-10, Sara Bardwell 0-0-0, Alyssa Maraia 1-0-2, Kirsten Gray 0-0-0, Kayla Williams 0-0-0: Totals: 19-13-52
Thee pointers: (K) Davis, Perez (T) Pergola
Records: Kennedy 6-2, Torrington 6-1