Torrington drops season-opener to St. Paul
BRISTOL – Game one of the post-Williams family era began for the Torrington basketball team Wednesday night against St. Paul, and not shockingly, it’s going to take some time for the Red Raiders to find their niche offensively without Jordan or Desmond taking control.
Early on, Torrington did play well on the offensive end, but it was unable to overcome 25 turnovers in a 72-64 loss to the Falcons in front of about 200 fans at St. Paul Catholic High School.
Martin Mitchell led Torrington with 19 points to go along with seven rebounds. Down low, center Connor Shugrue had 14 points and eight rebounds and Jalen Johnson also netted 14 points.
The Red Raiders led 44-41 halfway through the third quarter following a steal and lay-up from Johnson, but struggled the rest of the way. St. Paul went on a 10-3 run to end the quarter, highlighted by consecutive baskets from Marty Lewis, and never trailed again.
“We need senior leadership, and as soon as we get that, we’ll be able to execute late in games,” Torrington head coach Eric Gamari said. “Turnovers were the difference tonight. We made way too many and those led to a lot of easy baskets for (St. Paul).”
In the first, the Red Raiders came out firing, scoring 23 points, led by six points apiece from Shugrue and Bryan Failla (two threes).
However, Torrington led by only two and both teams then went scoreless for the first half of the second quarter.
Chris Burea, who led the Falcons with 15 points, scored nine points in the final four minutes of the period, including two three-pointers and a lay-up in transition, helping St. Paul to a 37-33 lead at the half.
“In the second quarter, we switched to a zone on defense and it ended up slowing us down on offense,” Gamari said. “Our goal was to punch it inside to play off of our size, which we did early, but then we got away from that.”
Despite a bevy of turnovers in third – nine total – the Red Raiders took their first lead since the first quarter on a three-point play by Mitchell, Torrington’s most consistent player of the night, 2:09 into the period.
In the end, though, the seemingly endless miscues from the Red Raiders were too much to overcome.
Two free throws from Shugrue pulled Torrington within five at 55-50 with 4:49 left in the fourth, but St. Paul responded with baskets on two straight possessions to up the lead to nine and Torrington was unable to cut the deficit under eight the rest of the way.
“We fought to the end and our effort was there tonight,” Gamari said. “I know with experience, this team will be good later in the season. We just need to find a way to be good now.”
ST. PAUL 72, TORRINGTON 64
Torrington: Bryan Failla 2 1 7, Jalen Johnson 6 2 14, David Canny 2 0 4, Brenden Lytton 3 0 6, Martin Mitchell 7 5 19, Connor Shugrue 6 2 14, Demetrius Dailey 0 0 0. Totals: 26 10-13 64.
St. Paul: Travis Thomas 4 0 8, David Shaw 1 3 6, Jacob Jacquo 6 2 14, Justin Gonzalez 1 2 5, Chris Burea 4 5 15, Pat McGuire 5 2 12, Kyle Dube 1 0 2, Marty Lewis 4 0 10. Totals: 26 14-16 72.
Torrington 23 10 13 18 – 64
St. Paul 21 16 14 21 – 72
3-point goals: T - Failla 2. STP - Burea 2, Lewis 2, Shaw, Gonzalez.
Records: Torrington 0-1; St. Paul 1-0.