The 2006 Torrington Boys Championship Season. Part Two: Starting the season 5-0 in convincing fashion.
TORRINGTON: When they hit the hardwood when it counted at the start of the 2005-2006 basketball season, the Torrington boys started out the first five games of the year in the same fashion they started each quarter. On a mission and in a hurry.
The Raiders opened up on the road on December 17, 2005 against Watertown and raced out to a 21-7 lead after one quarter off the strength of five three-pointers. Mike Fabiaschi (2), Andre French (2) and Sal Mancini connected as the visitors never trailed.
A pattern of starting fast in the first and third quarters was born and after taking a 37-19 lead into the locker room, a 24-11 third quarter put this one in the books for Fabiaschi and company who prided themselves on the fast beginnings.
“We didn’t worry about who we were playing,” Fabiaschi said. “If we did what we had to do, we knew we would win. It never entered our minds that we were going to lose that year.”
Fabiaschi led the way with 16 points, while French added 14, Mark Woznicki 12 and Dave Arsego 10 as every dressed Raider broke into the scorebook.
Nothing like a 34-point win to get the blood flowing and Torrington was off and running.
Game two brought the Raiders home to the Connie Donahue Gymnasium and a meeting with Kennedy and for the home crowd was treated to a 101-56 demolition of the Eagles behind five different Raiders who scored in double figures.
Fabiaschi (19), Dustin Waldren (17), French (15), Gary Robinson (13) and Aresego (10) paced the way as once again, all 10 Torrington players scored.
Head coach Tony Turina was starting to see something in this team, especially when it came to how they handled themselves once they hit the hardwood.
“What these guys did for me,” Turina said, “was they made it so I didn’t need to coach because on the court, those guys were the throwbacks who took care of things on the court. They never backed away from anybody. That’s a sign of good athletes, guys who were tough.”
Woznicki was a leader in the toughness department, although he had plenty of help from his teammates. If you went inside on Torrington, you understood that you might just come up a bit more bruised then when you went in and that grit and determination became the signature of this unit.
Turina had always been a master of fitting his players into a system that would get the most out of them at any given time. These players would run through a wall for their coach and he the same for them.
“I remember when coach would look to take a charge against us in practice,” Fabiaschi said, “and it wouldn’t be an easy charge either, he would launch himself at us.”
Great leaders know how to do that very well.
Seymour hosted Torrington in game three and for the third straight game, it was no contest after one as the road team raced out to a 31-14 lead and never looked back.
Fabiaschi led the way with 23, 11 in the blitz that was the opening frame. Robinson added 16, French 13 and Mancini 10.
3-0 after three by beating teams they should beat and beating them soundly.
A 43-27 first half propelled the Raiders to 4-0 in a 95-63 win over Ansonia at home as Fabiaschi led the way with 23 points, Waldren (16), Robinson (11) and Mancini (10) again cracked the double digit mark. Nine three-pointers found the bottom of the net that night.
Their first meeting with rival Holy Cross took place in game five and as an omen, the Raiders prevailed in their first close game by a 55-42 final at home.
The Crusaders stayed with Torrington up until halftime at 27-24 but true to form, the home team blasted out of the locker room to the tune of a 16-6 third quarter to put the game away.
Fabiaschi led the way with 16 points, including five of six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Robinson added 10 as the Raiders finished the first quarter of their season unbeaten at 5-0.
They had averaged 85.4 points per game in the first five, allowing an average of just 54.
It was a team with a little of everything. Size, speed, muscle and determination who showed they could score at will to win or slow it down and beat you in a low scoring contest.
They would start to face their first adversity over their next five games.
Next Up: Michael Fabiaschi. The Face of the Raiders and the keeper of tradition.