Torrington: Midway through the third quarter, things did not look good for the Torrington girls basketball team in their second round game versus Fitch.
They had not scored in close to ten minutes from a point in the second quarter, a frame that they scored two points in, to late in the third when the Falcons opened up a 36-28 lead.
Not much was going right for the Raiders and a season that had brought so much joy to the fans inside the Connie Donahue Gymnasium seemed destined for a disappointing conclusion.
But then something seemed to change. Perhaps the Raiders were not ready to stop playing basketball, especially senior Leah Pergola, who took her team on her talented shoulders, scoring 20 of her game high 26 in a come from behind 48-42 win.
Torrington stays home for a quarterfinal game on Monday night when they host Windsor, who beat Simsbury by a 40-37 score to advance Thursday night.
“They just dig down a dig down and dig down” head coach Mike Fritch said. “What I love about them the most is that they are winners. They’re not going to give up. I didn’t see one head go down because they were down.”
After the long scoring drought between the second and third quarters, Pergola scored 13 of her teams next 14 points as the home team looked to stay close to a Falcons team that loved shooting three’s and in the third, found their range.
A pair of long balls from Gabriella Dimock (16 points) and another Mariette El Khoury (10) pushed the lead to eight at 36-28 with 1:28 left in the third.
A pair of free throws by Pergola, who was fouled just before the buzzer, made it a 36-30 ball game as the final frame began.
At that point, Pergola got some help from her friends.
Amelia Boulli scored inside to make it 36-32.Haley Burger (10 points) came up bit with a two point bucket and a long three pointer that gave the home team the lead at 37-36 as the Connie Donahue erupted.
El Khoury drilled a long three of her own with 5:19 left to knot things at 39.
Pergola answered with a drive to the basket that gave the home team the lead again. Fitch would answer, tying things once again at 41.
Junior Leanna Harvey, who will be a big part of next year’s team, came up big by making one of two pressure packed free throws.
With the score tied after a made fee throw by the visitors, it was time for a big time player to come up big and that’s just what Pergola did when she drained a three pointer from the left side with 1:05 left.
The Torrington defense tightened and Fitch did not score again while Burger and Pergola made three of four free throws to ice this one.
The objective in any state tournament is to go as far as you can but winning your home games is why teams look to gain home court during the regular season.
So far, the Raiders have held serve. They have a chance to continue that trend on Monday night as they fight for a shot at making an appearance in the Class L semi-finals.
TORRINGTON 48, FITCH 42
Fitch (14-8): Dre’Ana Singleton 3 3 9 , Camila Santini 0 0 0, Sierra Lund 0 0 0, Mariette El Khoury 4 0 10, Jaedyn Steffens 0 0 0, Gabriella Dimock 7 0 16, Ada Ellis 2 0 4, Meleeya Robbins 1 13. Totals: 17 4 42.
Torrington (19-4): Rachel Brewer-Karimi 2 0 4, Amelia Boulli 2 0 4, Juliana Latina 0 0 0, Haley Burger 4 1 10, Brianna Murelli 1 0 2, Leah Pergola 8 8 26, Leanna Harvey 0 1 1. Totals: 17 10 48.
Fitch 12 5 19 6—42
Torrington 13 2 15 18—48
3-point goals: Fitch—El Khoury 2, Dimock 2; Torrington—Burger 1, Pergola 3.