Raiders survive injury scares, improve to 12-1 with 62-18 win over Wilby.
TORRINGTON: When Brittany Anderson planted her left leg and went up for a left handed layup, the ball barely reached the rim as Anderson crumbled to the floor.
The Connie Donahue Gymnasium went silent except for the loud yell of Torrington girls basketball coach Mike Fritch telling the referee’s to stop the game.
Anderson, a good basketball player but an even better softball player (Division I hopeful) appeared at first to be seriously injured as Raider head athletic trainer Sara Carmon made a dash towards the senior forward.
I found myself, along with Carmon, thinking about how long it might take to rehabilitate a serious knee injury at such a critical time for such a talented softball player.
It took a few minutes of anxious wondering before Anderson was able to get back on her feet and make her way back towards the bench, it was a scare but not an injury. Anderson would return to the game.
Playing in a game in which the competition, in this case the Wilby Wildcats, is simply not that talented can sometimes have coaches holding their breath as they try and navigate through 32 minutes of hardwood action without losing anyone.
Less than four minutes after the Anderson scare, senior Paige Middleton, as gutsy a player as Fritch has, went down in a heap after being clobbered while driving to the basket.
Middleton sustained a hard blow to her neck which could have been worse but still forced her to take most of the remainder of the game off.
Torrington beat Wilby by a 62-18 score on Friday night in a game that we too often see in parts of the Naugatuck Valley League (amongst others) that are not only tough to watch but can be games that effect a team’s success down the line.
Coming off a dominant 61-27 win over St Paul on Wednesday night, the Raiders 13-1 (11-1 in the NVL) kept all their starters on the bench at the start of this one.
Alexis Tyrrell, Mia Barbieri, Shelby Howe, Abbi Fisher and Kendra Covington took to the floor at the tip off and played well, working out to a 9-5 lead before the regular five took the floor.
It was on their first fast break opportunity off a steal that Anderson went down. The substitution pattern went into effect for the Raiders as they tried to get through the half without any more scares.
While she was out on the floor, especially early, Barbieri played strong inside, scoring eight of her game high 12 in the first quarter.
Down the line, continuing to get contributions from players like the senior center will be critical as teams look to take away key parts of the offense, namely Brie Pergola.
The win was number 399 for Fritch who will shoot for 400 on either Monday (snow forecasted) against Naugatuck (1-12) or Tuesday against Woodland (4-10). Both games will be played in Torrington.
There are just six games left in the regular season for the Raiders, only two of those teams (Wolcott 7-6) and Watertown (10-4) have winning records as of Friday night.
The game against the Indians on the last day of the NVL campaign may be an important one, even if it is Senior Night.
At the present, Torrington sits tied for fourth in the Class L seeding’s with Capital Prep. Farmington (13-0) sits atop the Class followed by Bristol Eastern (13-1) and New Fairfield (13-1).
Where they end up when it comes time to seed the post season is mostly what the Raiders are playing for down the stretch.