Torrington battles throughout, but falls to Sacred Heart, 75-54 in the Naugatuck Valley League final.
WATERBURY, WILBY HIGH SCHOOL: The Torrington boys basketball team made the trip to Wilby High School three times over the past five days and came away with two impressive wins.
They got by Wolcott in a thriller on Saturday, 58-56, after being down 15 early in the second half on a jumper in the lane by Dontae Thomas.
Two nights later on Monday, they played their best, most complete game of the year in a 95-83 trouncing of Crosby behind a heroic 35-point effort by Tyreek Davis to move on to their first appearance in the finals of the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament since back in 2009.
Wednesday night, the Raiders brought their buses back down Route 8 for one more game at the Reg, this time against the top seed, Sacred Heart.
On this night, the Raiders just didn’t have enough weapons or energy or a flurry of three pointers, as they had in the first two games of the tournament and fell by a 75-54 final to the Hearts who won their fifth NVL Tournament title in a row.
The Hearts don’t even get excited anymore when they take home the hardware, but they had to work hard against a Torrington team that is now poised to make a nice run in the upcoming Division III State Tournament, which starts next week.
“I’m vey proud of them,” head coach Eric Gamari said,” They’re a bunch of fighters and they show up every day, they show up and play hard. We are who we are, and we gave a good effort tonight.”
Davis, who had the three best games of his Raider career during this five day stretch, led his team with 24 points, 19 in the first half as Torrington stayed within striking distance of one of the top teams in Division I.
Torrington had connected on nine three-pointers on Saturday and 13 on Monday but landed just three on Wednesday night against a talented defensive unit that took away most of the Raiders weapons aside from Davis but not the fight from the rest of the team.
The Raiders closed to within seven at 39-32 off a 6-0 run to start the half, holding the Hearts scoreless until the 5:41 mark of the frame.
A 23-8 run by the top seed would seal the deal for the team everyone expected to win the tournament, just like everyone has expected for the past half a decade.
The Catholic School debate is one for another day, but it would appear it might be better for all involved is something was done to rectify the situation that appears to be reaching a boiling point, especially after the controversy that took place after the first game of the semi-finals.
The Hearts, reacting it appears to a perceived snub of junior Nate Tabor from any of the regular season awards when he was clearly one of the best players in the league, destined perhaps for a major DI program in his near future, did not come onto the floor to have their pictures taken as is tradition.
I get a feeling we haven’t heard the last of that but how the Raiders react to what has been a magic early post season run that may have ended a game short during this portion of the schedule, can be far from over if they play at the level, they did over the past three night.
The Raiders have earned a first round bye in the Division III states and will host the winner of the Stratford/Maloney game next Thursday at Torrington High School.
The have seven days to prepare for the last part of their season, having completed a terrific regular season with a 15-5 record, good for second place in the NVL and an NVL tournament run they saw them win two of three, one short of the goal but one heck of a run to date.
Naugatuck Valley League Championship Game
Sacred Heart 75, Torrington 54
At Wilby High School
Torrington 12 14 14 14 54
Sacred Heart 13 26 23 13 75
Torrington (54): Tyreek Davis 8-6-24, Joel Villanueva 3-3-9, Dontae Thomas 1-0-2, Kevin Dixon 2-0-4, Nick Balducci 1-0-3, Matt Rylander 2-2-6, Mohamed Traore 1-0-2, Justin Mattiello 1-0-2, TJ Calabrese 0-2-2. Totals: 19-13-54
Sacred Heart (75): Jamaal Waters 7-7-21, Nate Tabor 4-3-12, Lorenzo Washington 5-2-13, Connor Tierney 4-0-9, Omar Rowe 4-0-9, Caleb Sampson 1-2-4, Steve Alseph 1-0-2, Nyron Drunnamanio 1-0-2. Totals: 26-19-75
3-pointers: (T) 3, Davis 2, Balducci. (SH) 3, Tabor, Washington, Tierney