Raiders show grit in 92-77 loss to Crosby. Mancini hits for 29.
TORRINGTON: Playing three Waterbury or “City” teams in their last four games was enough to make the Torrington boys basketball team stand up against the third and while the lost, they showed themselves and their fan base something in the process.
After getting down 27-9 late in the first quarter, the Raiders fought back, getting within six late in the third quarter before falling 92-77 to Crosby.
The Bulldogs only had five players score, but each of them landed in double figures, led by Jordan Booker with 29.
Torrington countered with senior Zak Mancini who also connected on 29 off the strength of eight, three-pointers.
“If he’s on,” head coach Eric Gamari said, “Everything else falls into place. Everyone else kind of falls into place and plays their role.”
On another day, going down 18 to a fast and athletic team like Crosby might have spelled a real long night but not Friday night and the comeback may have come from previous experiences by the team.
What was it?
“That humbling feeling we had after playing two city schools I think helped us in the third match up,” Raiders coach Eric Gamari said, “I don’t think we were fazed tonight.”
The potential knockout blow came from the Bulldogs off the strength of a 17-0 run late in the first quarter but the home team responded.
Was their head coach concerned that this one could have gotten out of hand? Not so, says Gamari.
“There was a different look to the team,” Gamari said, “We weren’t making as many mental mistakes.”
Two key three-pointers, one by Mancini, the other by sophomore Jordan Henneberry with under thirty seconds to go in the first quarter signaled that this was not going to be one of those nights when the opposition ran away with a game.
On the strength of four three-pointers in the second quarter, three by Mancini, the other by Stephon Daily, Torrington found themselves within striking range at 49-39 at the break, a big breakthrough for a team looking to figure out how to stay competitive against city teams.
For the Bulldogs, you had a sense that they let the foot off the accelerator a bit in the second quarter, something that did not sit well with their legendary coach, Nick Augelli.
“We got a little lazy on defense,” Augelli said, “A couple of defensive break downs. My point guard (Booker) picked up two fouls in the first four minutes so he’s not playing defense like he really should. “
The long ball was definitely the Raiders best friend on Friday night as they connected on 11 in all. Whenever the Bulldogs would threaten to run away, the three ball kept them around.
Mancini hit two more in the third, as did Nick DallaValla, whose second trey cut the lead to single digits at 66-57.
Jake Boccio scored five of his 17 points late in the third when Torrington came almost all the way back, trailing just six at 68-62 late in the third.
Boccio was a force inside on Friday night, taking his game to another level, something his coach had been hoping for.
“Jake played like a senior tonight,” Gamari said, “he said the heck with it, I’m going to play hard.”
Jeremiah Kendall converted a huge offensive rebound into a bucket and when Roary Jadusingh (20 points) got up high for a tip-in, the lead got back to double digits, the two biggest buckets of the night for the Bulldogs.
As for the Bulldogs, it was a night that their head coach had seen before but on this night, they had enough to come away with the win.
“We have been hot and cold,” Augelli said, “Our first couple of games we won by 30 or 40 points but then we played Wilby (a 79-77 loss) and had a game like this. We can’t do that.”
It was clearly the Raiders best effort after being non-competitive in their first two meetings with Waterbury schools (81-49 to Kennedy, 85-58 to Holy Cross).
“Torrington is going to give some teams trouble,” Augelli said, “They beat us up pretty good.”
It will now be up to the Raiders to build off this effort that made Crosby work much harder than they might have wanted to.
Crosby 30 19 23 20 92
Torrington 15 24 23 15 77
Crosby (4-1): Roary Jadusingh 9-0-20, Jeremiah Kendall 6-2-12, Jordan Booker 8-8-29, Dan Jones 5-1-11, Dayquain Sinisterra 8-2-20 Totals: 36 11 92
Torrington (2-3) Zak Mancini 9-3-29, Stephon Daily 3-4-11, Nick DallaValla 2-0-5, Jason Vinisko 1-0-2, Connor Finn 2-0-4, Jake Boccio 8-1-17, Jordan Henneberry 3-0-7, David White 1-0-2: Totals: 29-8-72
Three-pointers: Crosby (9) Jadusingh 2, Booker 5, Sinisterra 2, Torrington (11) Mancini 8, Daily, DallaValla, Henneberry.