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Mowatt, Crusaders too much for Torrington boys, Cross wins, 85-58.

POSTED December 24, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: It’s hard to duplicate speed and size in practice. It’s harder to keep up with it for a full 32 minutes.

The Torrington boys kicked off the home portion of their 2015 campaign with a tale of two half’s.

In the first 16-minutes, the Raiders kept up with the frenetic pace the Holy Cross Crusaders force you to play with their full court pressure that makes it nearly impossible to slow the action.

Torrington was down just six at 36-30 at the break with the kind of effort their coach wanted to see but it waned in the second 16.

“First half, this year’s team,” head coach Eric Gamari said, “Second half, last year’s team.”

It doesn’t help that you opponent is a seasoned group that features one of the top players in the league, senior Jonathan Mowatt who led all scorers with 26 points, all but two in the first three quarters.

“John’s a four year varsity starter,” Crusaders head coach Ed Generali said, “And we really depend on him to be the leader. We need him to lead by example and I think he did that. He was aggressive, which we want him to be and when he goes to the basket, he’s really hard to stop.”

Despite the height and athleticism disadvantage, the Raiders hung around on the hot shooting of senior Zak Mancini (team high 24 points) who had eight in the first quarter.

Having a healthy Mancini will certainly help Torrington this year after the talented guard missed a good deal of time a year ago.

Cross applied a full court press to start, a staple of most Crusader teams and figuring it out is a process but the home team battled, especially on the boards to keep the visitors from running away early.

Keeping up that effort for four quarters will be a battle the Raiders need to commit to if they want to compete with the city teams who live to run.

The Crusaders took over on the glass after the intermission, something their coach had been preaching all pre-season.

“I really emphasized in practice that we need five guys rebounding,” Generali said, “And I think we even got contributions out of the bench as well.”

Generali was impressed with what he saw from the Raiders.

“They shoot the ball very well,” Generali said, “They’re always tough, Eric has them well drilled and they knew were the ball was going and who to get it to. I think we just wore them down in the second half.”

Holy Cross turned up the heat and outscored Torrington 49-28 in the second half to come away with their first win of the year after dropping an 80-78 decision to Kennedy in their opener.

Torrington is now 1-1 after beating Derby on Monday night by an 84-63 final.

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