Torrington boys struggle against red-hot Ansonia
TORRINGTON - Tajik Bagley scored 18 points to lead Ansonia to a convincing 57-36 victory over Torrington in a Nagatuck Valley League matchup Tuesday night.
The win was the fourth straight for the Chargers (4-4) while Torrington (2-6) lost for the sixth time in seven games and failed to build on the momentum of Saturday's 20-point win over Gilbert.
Bagley scored 12 points in the first half to help Ansonia build a 30-18 lead. He added six more in the second half and was at the top of the Charger's 2-3 zone that gave the Raiders problems all night long.
"Everybody did their job and no one tried to do too much," first-year Woodland coach Shane Kingsley said. "We got out to shooters, I thought we closed out quickly and forced some tough shots and we rebounded well."
Angel Falero scored 14 points and Ja'quan McKnight added 12 for Ansonia, which limited Torrington to five points in the third quarter to effectively end any hopes of a comeback.
"We've been playing zone all year and it allows us to stay out of foul trouble, we had been getting into foul trouble when we played man earlier in the season," Kingsley said. "We've been able to rebound out of the zone and it allows us to do what we want to do, which is get out in transition."
Bagley, McKnight and KeJuan Gordon were able to push the ball on the break and penetrate the Torrington defense in half court situations and that spelled trouble for the Raiders.
"I would say this is probably our best performance defensively all season," Kingsley said. "We were sound, didn't reach and did what we wanted to do tonight."
What Ansonia wanted to do was pick up another win and even its record, which it did rather easily. The Chargers have now fully rebounded from an 0-4 start and are starting to come together after getting off to a late start together.
If the names Bagley and McKnight are familiar its because they were two of the main reasons Ansonia went all the way to the Class S-Large state title game in football this fall. With the football season running into mid-December, Kingsley and his squad didn't get much work in as a full team before the season started.
"After starting 0-4, I like where we are," Kingsley said. "It took a little time for our football guys to get into basketball shape. We had them for two days before the first game and we have four football players who start. And with it being my first year, they had to learn a new system, so it took a little while."
While the Chargers have found their groove, the Raiders are still in search of theirs. Torrington was hoping the 68-48 win over Gilbert would be a springboard but the Raiders fell behind early Tuesday and were never able to get enough stops or make enough shots to get back in it.
"We struggled shooting," Torrington coach Eric Gamari said. "We settled against their zone and were a little passive and didn't make good decisions. They have quick hands and are quick in the lane and physical. I was very worried about all those things tonight and it all happened."
Stephon Dailey led Torrington with 11 points and Connor Finn added seven for the Raiders, who entered the game 2-1 at home on the season.
"I just told the team, I don't get it, we're at home, coming off the Gilbert game and this is how we come out and play," Gamari said. "I was ready but I can't go out and play. And we didn't score early and when we don't score early we don't do anything else. We didn't put the ball in the basket and we let our emotions get the best of us and we were out of it."