Raider girls play top ranked New London tough but fall 45-23.
TORRINGTON: What’s the best a team like Torrington can hope for when they match up against a school that plays a division higher than they do in LL and are ranked number one in the states in girls basketball?
Exactly the kind of effort the Raiders put forth in dropping a 45-23 decision to the Whalers from New London who brought in a pair of Division I bound athletes and a 13-0 record.
“I don’t think we embarrassed ourselves at all tonight,” head coach Mike Fritch said. “We played tough defense on them and I think we represented ourselves very well.”
Sometimes it’s simply about the talent level and the team that traveled two hours to the Northwest Corner just had more of it, even after one of their stars struggled to handle the ball after jamming two fingers on her right hand in the first half.
Senior Jada Lucas, who is heading to the University of Hartford to play after graduation, scored just five points thanks to the injury that prevented her from using her right hand, her dribbling and shooting hand.
That’s okay, New London is deep. Deep and young and talented with a 6’2” senior center, India Pagan, who will be attending Stony Brook when her days are done in the eastern most part of Connecticut.
Pagan led all scorers with 12 points but it was a battle for the D-I talent, as it was for most of the Whalers, thanks in the most part to a tough and scrappy Torrington team, something their head coach appreciated.
“Give Torrington credit,” third year head coach Holly Misto said. “They gave us a game. We came up here and wanted to be pushed, wanted to be played tough. We want good games, we want to see what we are made of and Torrington challenged us.”
The Raiders did just that in holding the top ranked team in the state to just seven points in the opening quarter, 19 by the half.
The Raiders defensive intensity was evident in the opening quarter, especially from senior Brie Pergola, who, although she scored just two points was the most active player on the court all night, blocking shots and coming away with steals.
Let’s face it, Pergola plays against some of the best in the state while playing for her AAU team so she’s not in any way afraid to play against this kind of talent.
What makes it hard to stay with a team like New London is if you don’t take care of the ball and the only ball handle skilled enough to work against the Whalers pressure was Pergola and with 21 team turnovers, it’s tough to win and when you struggle to get a shot off, it’s hard to score.
Pergola led the team with eight rebounds and was able to play inside against the taller Pagan whenever the opportunity arose.
Sophomore Alyssa Maraia led the Raiders with seven points while Alexis Tyrrell added six.
Both teams got what they wanted out of this match-up.
The Whalers got pushed and the Raiders got tough.
New London 45, Torrington 23
New London 7 12 13 13 45
Torrington 3 4 11 5 23
New London (45): Rosalee Nicholson 3-1-7, Jada Lucas 2-0-5, Leilani McClellan 2-0-5, KD Spencer Roman 1-0-2, Taina Pagan 1-2-4, India Pagan 4-4-12, Xaryia Melendez 4-2-10: Totals: 15-7-45
Torrington (23): Alexis Tyrrell 2-1-6, Brie Pergola 1-0-2, Sidnee Kovall 1-0-2, Sara Bardwell 1-0-2, Alyssa Maraia 3-0-7, Kayla Williams 2-0-4: Totals: 10-1-23
3-pointers: (NL) Lucas, McClellan, (T) Tyrrell, Maraia
Records: New London 14-0, Torrington 7-3