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Holy Cross outlasts Torrington in early NVL showdown

POSTED December 23, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

TORRINGTON - The Torrington High girls basketball team fought back from an early deficit but ultimately didn't have enough to overcome the Holy Cross duo of Kiera O'Donnell and Chelsea Houlihan.

O'Donnell led all scores with 26 points and Houlihan scored 13 of her 17 in the third quarter to lead the Crusaders to a 52-43 victory over the Red Raiders on Monday night at Torrington High.

Holy Cross improves to 5-0 with the win while Torrington had its three-game win streak snapped and falls to 3-2 on the season.

"Torrington is a tough team, well coached and this was a good win for us," Holy Cross coach Frank Lombardo said.

The Crusaders scored the first nine pints of the game before Caroline Teti hit a three to stop the bleeding. The Raiders got within 13-10 after one and were down just 22-20 at the half.

Teti drained a pull-up three to give Torrington a 30-28 lead with 3:10 left in the third quarter but then the game got away from the Red Raiders. O'Donnell scored in the lane to tie the game, 30-30, and then the game got away from Torrington and it could never get it back.

Torrington coach Mike Fritch got hit with a technical and it led to a five-point trip for Houlihan. It didn't appear that Fritch said much to warrant a technical but he got one and it changed the completion of the game.

"Someone's got to get in position to see the push off and make that call," Fritch said. "All I said was watch the push off. They must have talked at halftime about how we were talking to them."

Houlihan made three of four free throws and scored in the paint on the ensuing possession. Teti answered with a bucket but Houlihan scored in the lane and then made two free throws to give Holy Cross a 39-32 lead entering the fourth.

Teti led Torrington with 22 points. Teti hit four 3-pointers and also scored on a number of slashing drives to the hoop. Unfortunately for the Red Raiders she got little help on the offensive end as no other Torrington player scored more than five points.

"We have to get more scoring from other players, we just can't have Caroline and no one else making any shots," Fritch said. 

Teti scored 10 of her points in the fourth quarter and had 17 after the break but it wasn't enough against Holy across' one-two punch of O'Donnell and Houlihan and the Crusaders' advantage on the boards.

"We fought back but we have to do to better job rebounding," Teti said. "That's something we will have to work on and get better at. We aren't a big team but we can be a good rebounding team if we get all five players boxing out."

It was a tough loss but not a crushing one for Torrington, which showed it could definitely compete with the leagues best team.

"You want to win but I'm not disappointed with the result," Fritch said. "We fought back and were in the game down the stretch. We have some things to work on and we are incorporating new starters and kids off the bench but we will be fine."

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