Raiders rout Indians, 93-48. Big road tests on deck next week.
TORRINGTON: While a nice laugher is great to have once in a while, the true test of a team looking to make a statement is usually accomplished with tough road wins.
So, after the Torrington boys’ basketball team destroyed Watertown by a 93-48 final, we will know much more about this year’s Raiders after next week when they travel to take on Naugatuck and Wilby.
Sure, it was nice to beat the Indians after not coming out on the right side of the ledger since February 5, 2010 when the Raiders won by a 73-53 final, a stretch of six seasons and seven straight losses.
It was even nicer to see a Torrington team crack the 90-point mark, something they have not done since their 93-61 win over Wolcott on February 24, 2009 with four players scoring in double figures, led by Nick DallaValle with 18, including four, three-pointers.
The home team raced out to a 24-12 lead after one, held the visitors scoreless until the 1:33 mark of the second quarter thanks to a 22-0 run fueled by a relentless defense that caused turnovers on nearly every Indian possession.
This team, 10 deep and with 10 players making significant contributions, four minutes at a time in each quarter, sits at 5-4 after play on Wednesday and have beaten the teams they should have while letting a couple get away.
Losses to St Paul (5-3) in overtime and a game that could have gone either way but slipped away against Waterbury Career Academy are two that come to mind.
Torrington has been blown out just once, 89-63 in the season opener against Crosby. Their 95-71 loss to Sacred Heart at home on Saturday was closer than the final score indicates.
Their five wins have come against teams who have won a combined total of just 11 games.
It’s time for a couple of important road wins and it’s time to see if this team can beat a city school when they enter the Reggie O’Brien Gymnasium a week from Friday.
“These are huge games,” head coach Eric Gamari said. “I told the guys that will tell a lot about our season. What we look like in February, what we do next week.”
The Raiders rotation is a unique and positive situation for Gamari who can throw fresh legs at teams without losing any scoring or defensive intensity.
Everybody is aware that city teams love to run and this year, the Raiders are built for just that.
Having the team go through what they have so far this year, good and bad, has hopefully prepared them for the second half of the season as they look to not simply be a middle of the road team.
With each game, the two rotations have been able to grow as separate units who all get an equal amount of playing time.
“Getting everybody in is what it takes to compete and be successful,” Gamari said. “We have to focus on the fundamentals. We were stressing that a lot in practice on Monday.”
Two trips down Route 8 as January rolls towards a close will tell us a great deal about what kind of campaign 2016/2017 will be remembered for.
Gut check time in Raider land.
NOTES: Tyreek Davis (12), Jordan Henneberry (11) and Hunter Murphy (10) led a scoring attack that saw every varsity member score at least two points on Wednesday.
Watertown falls to 2-8.