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Burger (31) leads Raiders over Arel (30), Gilbert, 51-34.

TORRINGTON: There were two 30-point scorers in the opening game of the 2023/2024 basketball season as the Torrington Raiders hosted the Gilbert Yellowjackets.

Emily Arel, the sharp shooting point guard for the ‘Jackets netted 30 while the Raiders Haley Burger went one better at 31.

The trouble for Arel and Gilbert was that only one other player scored for the visitors in a 51-34 win by the home team.

Burger was the majority stake holder for the Raiders but got 20 points from the rest of her teammates.

You knew coming in that Arel was going to get her points; limiting the rest of the damage while somewhat controlling the talented junior was also a must.

Consider both objectives met on night one.

This is a Torrington team that returns just Burger from the starting lineup a year ago so game one was a chance for head coach Mike Fritch to see who was going to step up.

Nobody else scored in double figures but Leanna Harvey added five, none bigger than a long three pointer to start the third quarter, leading to an 11-3 run that gave the home team separation from a 20-19 lead at the half.

Defending a player like Arel, who can and will shoot from almost anywhere on the court is a tough task but one that both Lilah Boulli and Melissa Duman did a great job in the second half, limiting her to just 11 points.

Boulli chipped in with four points, as did Sofia Calabrese and Izzy Dangonini.

Burger scored 14 in the first half and 17 in the second, with two dagger three pointers in the third quarter as the Raiders pulled away.

Getting that first game out of the way is always important for a team, especially one that will need to find their identity as the campaign moves along.

Getting more scoring from others will be key to the Raiders success this year but for this night, all was well.

Torrington stays home for their second game as they host Derby on Friday night.

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