Torrington girls destroy St. Paul in NVL showdown
BRISTOL – On the brink of career win No. 400, Mike Fritch has unquestionably seen some great performances from his team over the years.
When going through the list, it will be tough, though, to find many that will top his squad’s effort on Wednesday night.
On the road, in a battle of one loss teams, Torrington outclassed St. Paul in every way imaginable, destroying the Falcons, 61-27, in this Naugatuck Valley League “showdown.”
Inside shooting, three-point shooting, on the fast break or in the half court – the Raiders, now 12-1 (10-1 NVL), could not and would not be stopped on this night.
“We played extremely well,” said Fritch, who is now two wins shy of 400. “(St. Paul’s) a good team. I just think we kept getting after it all night long. We kept our turnovers down, and made some key baskets. Everyone contributed.”
The Falcons actually jumped out to a 7-2 lead at the start. Torrington, however, responded with a 13-0 run to end the first quarter, highlighted by consecutive three-pointers from Taylor Howe, Brie Pergola and Paige Middleton. Pergola (11 points) added a lay-up to start the second to extend the run to 15-0.
Pergola, Mia Barbieri and Brittany Anderson, facing little resistance, all connected on lay-ups in transition in the period and the rout was on. The Raiders, unbelievably, held a 30-11 halftime advantage against a St. Paul team coming off a nine-game win streak.
“Our scouting report was spot on,” said Fritch, whose defense held St. Paul's leading scorer, Kelly McMahon, to only three points. “We came in here last year (a 44-30 Torrington win) and played a 3-2 zone and played it again tonight. They didn’t have the horses to get it done against us."
Middleton, a senior, had no doubts when asked if this was Torrington’s peak so far this season.
“Most definitely,” Middleton said. “They’re a good team and we put them away. Anytime you can do that, it feels pretty good.”
“Give the kids a lot of credit,” added Fritch. “We did not have practice for three days, but still came in here and did everything we worked on at practice on Sunday.”
Fritch pointed to the Raiders’ point guard play as a major reason for their flawless execution.
“Taylor Howe ran a great game tonight,” he said. “Sometimes, the guards, you don’t see them out unless they score points. She just took charge of the game. She played really well.”
Torrington remains one game behind Holy Cross for the top overall position in the NVL. Since the Raiders dropped the only regular season matchup, it will be hard to overcome that deficit. However, Torrington has a comfortable lead in the Iron Division over Watertown and should win it with ease.
And Fritch is looking at the big picture.
“Bottom line, (tonight’s) game did not mean a thing in terms of divisional play and tournament play in the league,” Fritch said. “I think we’ll both end up two and three. What it does mean is something on the state level. I keep telling the kids you want to stay high on the state level so you get to play at home. You don’t want to travel. That’s where this all comes into play.”
If Torrington continues to play like it did Wednesday, it can lock up the key to the bus. The Raiders won’t have to travel anywhere.