Raiders, UConn and State Football Playoffs. Ramblings from the desk of Mr. Gaff.
Paige Middleton and the Torrington girls basketball team will be in action on Friday night when they host Housatonic in pre-season action starting at 5 p.m.
TORRINGTON: What’s going on?
Plenty. As the temperatures dive, the action on the gridiron and on the hardwood heats up and a busy weekend is on tap around the Connecticut sports scene.
Locally, the Torrington girls’ basketball team hits the hardwood at the Connie Donahue this evening in their first pre-season contest against Housatonic at 5 p.m.
A season removed from a 15-5 campaign, head coach Mike Fritch Sr. brings back a group of players who are looking to make up for being vertically challenged (not much height) by following the lead of their sophomore sensation, Brie Pergola.
Pergola broke onto the scene last year as a ninth grader and is truly the real deal. Her basketball IQ is high and her skill level even higher.
“We will rely on Brie a lot,” Fritch said. “Part of what we have to do is convince her how good she can be.”
With their height issues, the Raiders will have to rely on a guard based offense at times, something that is currently a work in progress.
Paige Middleton will be joined by Caitlyn Cornish on the inside with Mia Barbieri helping out as well.
One of the problems Fritch has faced to date is a full squad for any of his practices. A number of players have missed the early season training sessions due to illness, making it hard to develop any consistency for game day.
Softball standout Brittany Anderson (who was out on Thursday) will be another weapon for the Raiders along with Taylor Howe and Kendra Covington.
Numbers are not off the charts this season, it’s somewhere south of 30 at the moment for the entire program.
Opening day is next Wednesday, December 10 at Woodland followed by a trip to Derby a week later on December 17.
The Raiders home opener is two days later on Friday, December 19 when Holy Cross comes up to Torrington.
“I expect Seymour, who has just about everybody back to be tough,” Fritch said. “Watertown and Wolcott will be in the mix in our division (Iron). Holy Cross is Holy Cross.”
The Pergola era enters year two. She’ll need some help if Torrington is going to make noise in the Naugatuck Valley League this season.
UCONN MEN- Patrick Tiscia will be in Storrs later tonight covering the men as they take on in-state rival Yale at 7 p.m.
The injury bug has hit the Huskies hard this past week, with Ryan Boatright’s ankle the major issues facing the team.
Rodney Purvis and Omar Calhoun are also questionable, Purvis may be a little more likely than Calhoun who is going to need to step up his 3-point shooting game in order to help the defending champs have another weapon aside from Boatright.
Nobody to date has stepped into the role Niels Giffey had from long range.
UCONN WOMEN: An early season battle royal seems imminent between number two Notre Dame and number three UConn.
Teams have been looking to put up to six players on star Breanna Stewart so far this campaign and expect the Irish to do the same.
Every team has watched in detail how Stanford took down the Huskies in November and you can be sure ND has taken notes.
Since the Cardinal loss though, several players, especially Kia Nurse and Morgan Tuck have taken on significantly larger roles for head Coach Geno Auriemma.
Don’t expect to see a repeat of the Cardinal game from a Huskies team that has tasted a loss and doesn’t seem to want to get used to it any time soon.
STATE PLAYOFF FOOTBALL: Just when Torrington High School athletic director Mike McKenna thought it was safe to close down the new Robert H. Frost facility, a state playoff opening round game will be played there on Saturday.
The number two seed, Capital Prep will face the number three seed from Canton at 2 p.m.
Dillon Stadium in Hartford, the Capital Prep home field, was deemed not ready to play after last week ends storms made the field more suitable for mud wrestling and less for football.
The stands and most of the sidelines at the field have far less snow on them as they did last Saturday when the Raiders played their Thanksgiving Game a couple days late.