TORRINGTON: Win number 500 for Torrington girls basketball coach Mike Fritch was a lot like so many others we have seen over the years.
Not a work of art but one that featured a workman-like effort that resulted in an important win on so many levels.
First, is the milestone. Pretty rich territory for Fritch, who has dropped hints that this might be it for him after 31 years at the helm for the Raiders.
That’s an average of 16 plus wins per year, mighty impressive.
This win, a big one for the Raiders, made up for an early season loss to the Warriors by a 56-40 final, improves their record to 11-6 and drops Watertown to 10-7.
Torrington has three games remaining in the regular season. Friday night against Oxford, who they lost by just one (40-39) in their first meeting.
Next up is Wolcott on the road, a team the Raiders handled by a 48-34 final in round one.
They wrap up the regular season by hosting Ansonia on Valentines Day, a game that will be the home team’s Senior night.
The Chargers fell to Torrington by a 49-38 final the first time out.
If they win out, they will sit at 14-6 with a better than good chance of hosting a home playoff game, which could be one of the last post season games played in the current Connie Donahue Gymnasium.
By this time next year, the current gym will be in the process of being stripped down to the bones and rebuilt to a magnificent new facility.
It will remain the size that it is, a critical save by the building committee in charge of the planning of the new High School/Middle School.
The last time these two teams met, the Raiders got off to an awful start, hitting just 1 of 18 shots in the first quarter.
Tonight though, the home team jumped out to an 18-8 lead after one quarter on the strength of six points by both Lilah Boulli and Sofia Calabrese.
Calabrese (team high 15) would continue her strong play inside on the boards with two more baskets and got help from Leanna Harbey who scored five in the frame and 12 on the night.
It was 29-20 at the break and grew to 36-22 with 4:54 to go in the third when the Raiders went cold, and the Warriors heated up.
The home team when scoreless for nearly six minutes as the visitors got all the way back to within two at 36-34 before Melisa Dumas and Calabrese connected on back-to-back buckets with close to five minutes to play.
The Warriors though, were not done and a 7-0 run gave them their first lead at 41-40 and you had to wonder if number 500 was going to have to wait a few more days.
Not so fast.
Calabrese would find Haley Burger with a great pass inside that Burger connected on, was fouled, and made the free throw. 43-41 Torrington.
Calabrese got the steal on the inbound as Torrington put on heavy pressure and converted. 45-41.
Watertown would score on a drive by Casey O’Toole to make it 45-43.
Harvey would make three of four three throws with Dumas hitting on one of two to help seal No. 500.