Canny drops 33 but Raiders fall to Crosby, 80-66.
TORRINGTON: It’s been a rivalry for a good long time, this Torrington/Crosby match up on the hardwood.
Each time these Naugatuck Valley League foes lace ’em up and go at it, regardless of either teams record, it’s a battle.
The 2012/2013 version had the Bulldogs coming to the Connie Donahue with a top five State ranking with them while the Raiders were having a decent season with an 8-8 record.
Crosby had just come off a second epic masterpiece on Friday night when they knocked off rival Wilby in overtime by an 88-87 score.
Torrington had qualified for the State Tournament a week ago, their first such appearance in three years and were feeling pretty good about their chances.
On this night, the Bulldogs raced out to a 22-12 lead after a quarter, gave most of the lead away in the third and fourth quarters before pulling away behind 39 points by Tyshon Rogers in an 80-66 win.
David Canny had another terrific night for the Raiders, scoring 33 points, including a trio of dunks.
The visitors did what they usually do to teams in the first quarter on Tuesday night; they got out fast and built a 10-point lead after a frame.
“You have to weather the storm against them most nights in the first quarter.” Raider head coach Eric Gamari said. “They start so fast that they usually tire and we get back in it after that.”
Rogers was as good as advertised with a variety of moves that gave fans the feeling he could take over at any time and at times, he did just that.
The Bulldogs relied on an aggressive full court press along with a two-man bottleneck that gave the Raiders fits early.
Canny was working well underneath when his teammates were able to get him the ball but while the Bulldogs don’t bring a lot of height, they play taller than they are and disrupted the Raiders flow to their big man.
“I wish we had a 6’10” guy underneath.” Crosby coach Nick Augelli said. “They make us adjust our game because we have to leave our big guy inside instead of having him outside helping out on the trap.”
After the opening barrage, the Raiders settled down and played better in the second quarter, aided by two fouls on Rogers that had him sit most of the frame.Canny scored 10 in the quarter, including the first of three dunks he had on the night.
Zak Mancini helped stabilize the Raiders press break in the second quarter and the teams went into the break with the visitors up nine at 38-29.
Like a fighter, the home team had taken the Bulldogs best punch and were still standing.
Things would get even more interesting in the third quarter as Austin Kelson (17 game points, 10 in third) and Canny (13 points) brought the Raiders back to within four for the first time at 49-45 with 3:35 to go in the quarter on a loud Canny dunk.
It was the aftermath of that dunk that changed the flow of the game back to the road team.
After the dunk, Canny apparently touched the ball which led to a technical foul for delay of game on the Raiders senior center.
Both teams had been warned and the Bulldogs had also been called for a technical earlier in the game off the same call of delay of game.
Unfortunately for Canny, it was his fourth foul and he had to sit while the Bulldogs made an immediate run to expand the lead back to eight as the third quarter ended.
Even with their big man on the bench, the home team opened the final quarter on a 6-2 run to pull with four again at 59-55 behind two terrific drives to the hole by Kelson.
Canny came back in with just over six minutes left but Rogers was taking matters into his own hands, scoring 19 points in the final eight minutes, including 7 of 8 from the line.
Torrington would get no closer than eight the rest of the way and the highly ranked Bulldogs had their 16th win of the year against just one loss (Wilby).
“I told them that they are a great bunch of people who are learning how to develop into a great team.” Augelli said. “We are young and still maturing as we go. We’ll get back to the drawing board and fix what we need to.”
Talk about a high standard, 16-1 and the Bulldogs will be getting back to the drawing board.
How greatness is taught……