Raider boys basketall looks good versus Danbury. THS girls numbers way down. Why?
TORRINGTON: Torrington boys basketball head coach Eric Gamari likes to get a reading on his teams early on by scheduling heavy hitters in his first few scrimmages and this year was no exception.
The Raiders took on LL power Danbury on Tuesday night, less than a week after first assembling his team for the 2018/2019 campaign.
Torrington traveled to Danbury last year and took their lumps against a team that regularly plays deep into the state tournament come March.
On Tuesday night, there was a lot to like in the scrimmage as the Raiders fast break offense and tough defense won the first quarter and tied the second quarter.
In these scrimmages, the scores reset each quarter, giving the coaches an opportunity to get some early season planning in. The JV units for both teams played the third quarter.
The home team ran out to a 10-3 lead on the strength of five points from Joel Villanueva and three from Kevin Dixon.
Danbury rallied near the end of the eight-minute frame to close to within three at 14-11 after one. The teams ended the second quarter tied at 12.
The Raiders crashed the boards well, especially Dixon and Villanueva with Dixon rising to block a dunk attempt on a fast break opportunity for the visitors.
Danbury was taller, but the home team made their mark on both the offensive and defensive boards, a must as they prepare for the upcoming Naugatuck Valley League season.
Tyreek Davis returns this year after a one-year absence from THS and played well in his first time back on the Connie Donahue Gymnasium floor.
In the Raiders up beat offense, it’s all about getting the ball up the court as fast as possible before the opposition can set up their defense and Davis has the speed to make the offense even better.
Dontae Thomas had a steal and converted it into a bucket during the Raiders strong first quarter.
Thomas is the wing who gets downcourt in a hurry, looking to either drive to the basket or find an open teammate slashing to the bucket himself.
It’s tough to tell too much after one scrimmage when both teams are working on things, but the Raiders didn’t shy away from their LL opponent on Tuesday night, a good sign.
---Where are all the girls?
That may be the question of the year when it comes to sports, in this case, girls’ basketball.
There are over 400 girls enrolled at THS but for the first time in forever, there will be no Freshman or Junior Varsity team this year.
Only 17 girls came out for the sport, with but 11 making the cut.
Several of the players who did not make the team were brand new to the game, having not played before.
Are we seeing the effects of the absence of Middle School sports for the past three years?
Makes sense that it may be part of the reason for the shortage, but the Raiders are not alone in this.
Five NVL schools are in the same boat as Torrington as they prepare to get underway later next week.
We have seen this lack of participation in other sports as well with girls’ soccer numbers around the area also down.
Softball and volleyball numbers were also down this past season.
What is the solution?
The first question we may need to ask if why?
Polling students at the schools may give a peak behind what’s causing this change.
Middle School sports are back on this year and that may help as well.
One thing is for certain though, if numbers don’t start to go back in the positive direction, programs may be put at risk, something nobody wants to see happen.