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Henneberry leads Raiders with 18 as Torrington wins first over Wolcott, 71-59.

POSTED January 03, 2017
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Torrington junior Jordan Henneberry decided to focus all his energy and drive towards basketball after playing football his first two years along with his time on the hardwood.

“I love the competitiveness of basketball,” Henneberry said. “That’s all I live for so I thought I would just put it all into this and help this team become something big.”

Over the Raiders first four games, the junior post player had shown a great deal of energy, his forte, and shown signs of being able to take over a game, but had not yet reached that plateau coming into the Raiders game against Wolcott.

That all changed on Tuesday night.

After a scoreless first quarter, Henneberry exploded for 18 points over the next two frames as Torrington posted their first win of the season in a 71-59 win over the still winless Eagles (0-5).

With seven turnovers in the first quarter that ended with Wolcott up 11-10, Henneberry scored nine of his team’s 12 second quarter points, including a layup as time ran down in the half to give his team a 22-21 lead going into the break.

The Raiders used a 9-2 run at the start of the third quarter to open up a 31-25 lead but in a frame of runs, the Eagles responded with an 8-2 run over their own.

A second 9-2 run, capped by a pair of three balls from Stephon Daily (16 points, four three’s) and another from Henneberry pushed the home teams lead out to 42-33 and the Eagles never got the deficit under double digits after that.

“When we limit our turnovers,” head coach Eric Gamari said. “We have enough offensive firepower to let us get any shot we want.”

Here’s what we know about the now 1-3, Raiders.

They are a deep (nine) and entertaining group that should win their share of games this year with a blend of experience and raw talent.

Daily and fellow senior Nick Dallavalle (7 points) are the calming influences that head coach Eric Gamari can count on to help slow the break neck speed youngsters who at times go too fast for their own good.

Point guard Rich Rodriguez (nine points) was terrific at breaking the Wolcott press and hit on four of six free throws down the stretch.

Sophomore Tyreek Davis scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter after scoring 23 in a 77-76 overtime loss to St Paul in the Raiders last game.

Back-up point guard, Dontae Thomas brings a bundle of energy to the court when he comes in, one of the terrific advantages Gamari has with this nine-man rotation, a luxury every coach would love to have.

Another sophomore, Joel Villanueva struggled with just two points on Tuesday night but pitched in with 16 against St. Paul and can simply jump out of the gym, as can many of this year Raiders.

Only two stand 6’0”, Henneberry and fellow eleventh grader Hunter Murphy reach that height but getting up above the rim is not an issue this year.

But it was Henneberry who stood above the crowd Tuesday night, willing his team to their first win of the year.

“I knew we just had to go get it,” Henneberry said. “There was no way we were going to lose this game. We had been playing better over the last couple of games.”

Gamari likes his team’s energy this year and has asked them to embrace the nine-man rotation.

“I’ve asked them to remember it’s about us,” Gamari said. “It’s about the nine or ten that play. It’s about people making commitments. If you are doing what we ask you to do and there are favorable matchups then yes, you’re going to see your playing time go up.”

Torrington 71, Wolcott 59

At Torrington

Wolcott           11        10        19        19        59

Torrington       10        12        26        23        71

Wolcott (59):   Mike Rousseau 1-2-4, Pat Drewry 7-0-14, Bobby White 5-3-15, Mike Roizella 2-0-5, Jack Drewry 4-1-9, Mike Tessarzik 4-2-12: Totals: 23-8-59

Torrington (71): Andrew Langwell 1-0-2, Rich Rodriguez 2-5-9, Tyreek Davis 5-3-13, Nick DallaValle 2-1-7, Dontae Thomas 0-2-2, Joel Villanueva 1-0-2, Jordan Henneberry 8-1-18, Stephon Daily 4-4-16, Adrian Gonzales 1-0-2: Totals: 24-16-71

3-pointers: (W) White 2, Roizella, J. Drewry Tessarzik 2. (T): DallaValle 2, Henneberry, Daily 4

Records: Wolcott 0-5, Torrington 1-3.

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