Ramblings from the desk of Mr. Gaff. NVL and BL girls hoops kick off. UConn women continue to amaze.
TORRINGTON: Time to take a look at what’s cooking on the Litchfield County Sports scene as the weather moves everybody indoors and I don’t think I’m going to complain about it anytime soon.
….The girls’ basketball regular season kicks off in the Naugatuck Valley League and the Berkshire League tonight with the Torrington girls traveling to take on Seymour, looking to improve on a .500 season a year ago.
After the Wildcats, the Raiders play their home opener on Friday against rival Holy Cross in an early season test for both teams.
It’s always a battle when these two teams and two of the top coaches in the area, Mike Fritch Sr (Torrington) and Frank Lomdardo (the Crusaders) roam the sidelines.
It will be a good test for a Raiders team, led by a healthy Bri Pergola, who are looking to put last year in the rear-view mirror quickly.
Torrington does not present a whole lot of height so crashing the boards will be a must this year with the tallest player on the roster being sophomore Alicia Caskey at 5’10”.
Five seniors will be expected to lead the way with multi-sport standout Alexis Tyrrell at the wheel for the offense with help from fellow upperclassmen Sidnee Kovall, Shannon Reardon, Sara Bardwell and Colleen Kilgore.
Reardon has a great deal of varsity experience as she enters her final year, it was up to Tyrrell and Reardon to set up the offense a year ago, with Pergola missing most of the year due to an injury.
Pergola can be one of the most talented players in the NVL but it remains to be seen if she can step up and throw 25 points at an opponent if need be. Her unselfish nature tends to have her look to set up teammates more than taking the shot herself and that’s a positive if her mates are on the same page as the talented senior.
A word of advice for her teammates. If you are open near the basket, look for the ball to find you. It’s a gift, what Pergola has, it would be wise to take the present and make the bucket.
Finding someone else willing to score will be imperative for Torrington this season.
….The Thomaston girls’ basketball team kicks off their 2016-2017 campaign on Friday when they host rival Northwestern at 7 p.m.
The Golden Bears, runners up in the Class S Finals a year ago, will be looking to keep their amazing run of Berkshire League titles (five straight) and appearances on the biggest end of the year stage in the Finals of Class S where they have found themselves four consecutive seasons.
The joke around the CIAC is that the Bears can no longer play a final at Mohegan Sun because it has become a home court.
To get back to that location, Thomaston will rely on a pair of winners in Casey Carangelo and Julia Quinn who own a pair of titles already.
….How much fun has it been to see any and all prognosticators watch as their gloom and doom forecasts for the UConn women fall by the wayside, one by one.
Must admit, I didn’t think they would be unbeaten at this point in the year (see Baylor and Notre Dame) and it doesn’t seem as if their head coach, Geno Auriemma did either.
In fact, after a lackluster 37-point win (the word lackluster and 37-point win don’t seem to jive) over Chattanooga on November 29, Auriemma was begging to have someone kick the you know what out of his team to wake them up.
It’s no coincidence that tough games against DePaul, Texas and Notre Dame were on deck.
The coach with 11 titles is the master motivator and after some soul searching by the team, the Huskies ran past DePaul over the first 10 minutes of the contest on their way to a 91-46 win.
Against the Longhorns, UConn again struggled out of the gate to the tune of being down 12-6 before rebounding for an 18-point win.
Next up was Muffet McGraw and the Fighting Irish in South Bend, a game that certainly was supposed to end the streak that is building towards their own record of 90 straight but once again, it didn’t fall.
An 11-point win over ND was followed by a 75-58 win at a sold-out Kansas State on Sunday and here we are on December 13 and the Huskies have still not fallen.
The streak stands at 84, the record 9-0.
Two more ranked teams remain in their way in December. Ohio State (# 12, 8-3) comes to the XL Center on Monday, December 18 before UConn takes to the road for a game at Nebraska and then on to Maryland (#4 10-0).
From there, good luck finding what could be classified as a toss-up game. Those will be by the wayside like so much trash by then.
The Huskies could even their mark of 90 straight wins at the XL Center on January 10 when they host American Athletic Conference foe, USF with the record falling if they win on the road at SMU on January 14, 2017.