Raiders season comes to an end in a 43-41 loss to Woodstock Academy in Class L second round.
TORRINGTON: It was a team that head coach Mike Fritch didn’t expect a whole lot from when this 2016/2017 campaign began.
He had one true star, senior Brie Pergola and a group of athletic players who learned to play as a team as the year progressed, but still managed to win 15 regular season games, a Naugatuck Valley League Tournament game and a First Round Class L game to boot.
A season that ended on Thursday night in a hard fought 43-41 loss to Woodstock Academy will not go down as a disappointment, not by any means, especially in one area that matters most to the coach.
“They played hard for me all year,” Fritch said. “Each of them knew their role and played it well.”
The Centaurs won this game on the boards in the second half, a weak area for the Raiders all year.
Torrington got off to a fast start, up 15-8 late in the first quarter off a five-point effort by Pergola and four points from Alyssa Maraia, the sophomore guard who will be looked to with much greater importance in her junior year with No. 13 (Pergola) graduating.
The visitors started to flex their muscle on the glass in the second quarter when they fought back behind Ariana Koivisto who had seven points in the frame and the home team led by just two at 22-20 at the break.
Senior Alexis Tyrrell (10 points) opened the home team’s third quarter with a three ball for a five-point lead but Woodstock Academy continued to pound the boards on both ends.
The Centaurs attacked the basket and converted on 10 of 12 free throws in the second half.
An 8-0 run in the fourth quarter after the Raiders were within one at 33-32 was the difference, along with a solid defensive effort by the No 10 seed who now move on to take on No 2 Daniel Hand next Tuesday.
Despite scoring just five points over the first seven minutes of the final quarter, Torrington showed fight by making it a one possession game with 15 seconds left.
Down 43-34 with :57 seconds left, Tyrrell hit from the Goshen area on a three-pointer to get the home team within six at 43-37.
A turnover by the visitors gave the Raiders another chance and after getting a screen from Tyrrell, Pergola drained a three-pointer of her own to make it a three-point game at 43-40.
We were in for a strange ending as Torrington got possession with 15 seconds left and looked for the game tying three-pointer that Pergola was just off on but Colleen Kilgore grabbed the rebound and was fouled as the clock stood at 0:00 but no horn seemed to sound, leading to a lengthy discussion between the referee’s and coaches.
With no tenths of seconds on the THS scoreboard, it was impossible to tell just how much time was left.
Kilgore made one of two free throws with what was believed to be sixth tenths of a second on the clock but all the visitors had to do was get the ball in and they would drive back to the Eastern part of the state happy.
As for the Raider’s they say goodbye to one of the most talented players in program history in Pergola who played just a little over three seasons because of an injury in her junior year.
The smooth shooting, slick passing guard will be taking her talents to the next level although no decision has been made to date.
How important has this team been to her?
“This team has been everything to me,” Pergola said. “I may not have made it through high school without my basketball team with me so, it’s been a pleasure.”
Like-wise from all the fans in the stands who enjoyed every minute of watching her play.