Raiders win Iron Division with 57-39 win over Watertown.
TORRINGTON – It was hard to tell exactly how much the Iron Division crown meant to the Torrington High girls basketball team Tuesday. That aside, it was easy to see why the Raiders will be a tough out in the upcoming NVL Tournament which begins Saturday at Holy Cross.
In dispatching Watertown, 57-39, at the Connie Donahue Gymnasium coach Mike Fritch’s club was hardly a model of excellent execution. There were 17 turnovers, 10 coming in the first three minutes. However, no matter.
What the keen eye would take away was not the slow start, but the quick regroup and a dose of quality depth that has the potential to make this a very rewarding post-season.
Sophomore Brie Pergola surprises no one at this point, already one of the top players in the NVL. And despite being less than 100 percent due to illness (she was sent home from practice Monday) contributed 13 points. Torrington’s other given, senior Paige Middleton led all scorers with 17 points.
But how about this? Senior Brittany Anderson, more known her for rugged rebounding, produces a career-high 16 points to go with eight rebounds. Mia Barbieri comes off of the bench to snare eight rebounds. Shelby Howe gets valuable minutes.
It all was too much for Watertown who received a 21-point, 12 rebound effort from Abby Collier but couldn’t find much production beyond that.
“We just have a couple of more players,” said Anderson. “When we went over their offense and defense, we knew there was not a lot scoring off of the bench.”
With the win, Torrington raised its record to 18-1 and clinched the division with an unblemished 7-0 mark. The Raiders conclude their regular season tonight, hosting Naugatuck. Watertown is done with the regular season, posting a 14-6 mark, 6-2 in the Iron Division. Both teams will see action in the NVL Tournament which starts Saturday at Holy Cross.
The Raiders got off to a slow start but so did Watertown in a different manner. While Torrington was turning the ball over at a record pace, the Indians had cause to measure the basket because the ball didn’t seem to fit.
Torrington led, 14-9, after the first quarter despite double digit turnover total. Watertown’s problem was that it shot 3-of-16. The Raiders edge ballooned to 26-15 at the half with the Indians finishing 5-for-29 (21 percent) from the floor.
Watertown’s meal ticket Abby Collier scored just four points in the opening half without a basket only to explode in the third quarter. Collier hit a couple 3-pointers, scored 15 points and had the Indians within, 34-27, with 4:40 to go.
Collier just wasn’t enough to beat an army. Anderson canned a 3-pointer and after Collier converted an offensive rebound, Caitlin Cornish scored on a layup and Pergola negotiated a three-point play followed by an Anderson layup for a 44-29 Torrington lead.
Watertown had no other responses.
“The big difference is that our bench is a little stronger than theirs,” said Torrington coach Mike Fritch. “Taylor (Howe) and Brie gave what they could but Mia was outstanding and Brittany was big-time stuff tonight. She also had the job of shutting down Collier who is a great shooter. She got her average but in the first half she only had four points and that gave us an edge.
Anderson thought about canning basketball this season to concentrate on softball where she is one of the top players in the NVL. Good thing she did not follow through on that idea.
“I just work hard and do the best I can,’” said Anderson.
The best she can was pretty darn good Tuesday night. As for the division title, the Raiders seem to have their eyes focused on something bigger but Fritch said it was not ignored.
“They know. It means something,” he said. “I think it meant more than my 400th (a week ago).”
Maybe it was just the beginning of something special.
Torrington 57, Watertown 39
Watertown (14-6): Rebecca Lopes 1 0 3, Olivia Gugliotti 1 1 4, Ashley Gugliotti 1 0 2, Julianna Rinaldi 1 0 2, Abby Collier 5 9 21, Mary Zabroowski 1 1 3, Taylor Macinone 1 0 2, Paula Attallah 1 0 2, Totals 12 11 39.
Torrington (18-1): Paige Middleton 6 3 17, Ashlyn Cook 0 0 0, Brie Pergola 5 3 14, Brittany Anderson 6 3 16, Mia Barbieri 1 0 2, Taylor Howe 0 0 0, Caitlyn Cornish 2 0 4, Kendra Covington 0 0 0, Shelby Howe 2 0 4, Total 22 9 57
Watertown 9 6 18 6—39
Torrington 14 12 18 13—57
3-point goals: W – Collier 2, Lopes 1, O. Gugliotti 1; T – Middleton 2, Pergola 1, Anderson 1.