Tim Considine Jr. (17 points) leads Raiders past Gilbert, 68-48.
TORRINGTON: It’s been a strange year for both the Torrington Raiders and the Gilbert Yellowjackets, two teams from different leagues but separated by just over 10 miles up Route 8.
The Raiders won their opener in impressive fashion over Derby at home, but have since lost five straight.
By contrast, the ‘Jackets posted impressive wins over Lewis Mills and Terryville, while losing to Wamogo and Housatonic on their way to a 3-3 start coming into the Connie Donahue Gymnasium for a cross over game with Torrington.
In the third installment of a series that has become very popular for both fans bases, it was the Raiders who came out on top with a 68-48 win over Gilbert for their second win of the season.
For Torrington, getting what looks to be the toughest part of their schedule out of the way early may have led to some bruises, but with the Waterbury power schools (Holy Cross, Kennedy and Crosby) out the way and a very talented Newtown in the rear view mirror, better days may be ahead.
Consider Torrington’s next four games. They face Ansonia (3-4), Oxford (1-5), Watertown (1-5) and Wolcott (3-4) in games they should be competitive in.
Torrington senior Tim Considine Jr. led the home team’s effort on Saturday night with 17 points, including three from beyond the arch.
Playing his final year on the same court his late father Tim Sr. did and playing well has been important to smooth shooting upperclassman.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Considine Jr. said. “Knowing that my dad is watching over me in a way is pretty cool.”
After Torrington raced out to an 8-0 lead, the ‘Jackets fought back with a 13-0 run of their own.
It was Considine who went on his own 6-0 run to help put his team back in front with a pair of layups, sandwiching one of those three long balls.
Like the rest of the team, Considine had struggled over the five-game losing streak, but before the Saturday night contest, his head coach had some words of encouragement for him.
“I told him he was starting,” head coach Eric Gamari said. “I asked him to lead this team, we need to get eight (wins) and that I want him to experience a state tournament game.”
Gilbert head coach Mark Douglass has a very athletic team that loves the track meet style play fans of Yellowjackets basketball have become fond of over his tenure, but they need to settle into their own identity.
“When we run our offense and don’t go too fast,” Douglass said, “we do alright. It’s when we get out of it and try and do too much that we get in trouble.”
This game does bring with it the Naugatauck Valley League versus the Berkshire League emotions as well.
Who has the better league and who will take home the bragging rights for that year?
“The kids get really up when they come here to play Torrington,” Douglass said. “They want to do well before the big crowd and make a play and sometimes that gets us out of sorts.”
Gamari saw three of his players score in double figures as Stephon Dailey (10) and David White (14) pitched in on the offensive side.
White came off the bench on Saturday and created the spark his head coach was looking for after starting most of the year.
In all, eight Raiders scored, a positive sign for a team looking to get on a run.
The home team led by nine (30-21) at the half and stretched the lead to 13 at the end of three before putting the visitors away with a strong fourth quarter.
For Douglass and the ‘Jackets, senior Anthony Gonzalez led the way with sixteen points while Paxton Thornton and Garrett Lombardo each added nine.
He also is looking to figure his team out.
“We beat Mills and Terryville and give Litchfield a good run all night,” Douglass said, “but then we lose to Wamogo and Housatonic. We have some work to do.”