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Raider boys basketball overcomes slow start in taking care of Ansonia.

POSTED January 10, 2018
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Okay, so sometimes it's not going to be a work of art or even anything close to it.

In the rough and tumble Naugatuck Valley League, coming away with a win is a good thing.

Just ask Torrington boys basketball head coach Eric Gamari who watched his team get off to a molasses like start against a scrappy Ansonia team before finding their footing in an eventual 82-56 win over the Chargers.

"We had to find our rhythm," Gamari said. "We missed practice yesterday and it showed."

This game was originally scheduled for last Friday but thanks to the Cyclone Bomb snowstorm on Thursday and a late day coating of snow on Monday that canceled all after school activities, it had to be moved until today.

Fortunately for the Raider faithful, this is a team that possesses multiple offensive weapons that tend to wear down an opponent, as it did on Tuesday night.

82 points seemed like a far-fetched dream after eight minutes though as the home team sputtered and spit out to an 8-4 lead after one.

At one point, the Raiders had more turnovers (6) than points (5) as their fast-paced offense seemed like it was missing a timing belt before their three-point game, led by junior Dontae Thomas (15 points) got going.

Torrington went on a 14-5 run to open up some breathing room, led by Thomas but aided by consecutive three balls from Jordan Henneberry (12 points) and Joel Villanueva (18 points) to go up double digits at 24-14.

The Chargers though, have a freshman in Sheldon Schuler who led all scorers with 23 points, helping the visitors hang around.

Schuler had 12-points at the break and will a match up nightmare for teams for the next three plus years and helped the visitors hang around with effort.

"I don't think the guys realized how hard Ansonia was going to play," Gamari said. "We had to adjust to their effort and eventually did."

Up ten at the break (34-24), the Raiders came out on a 5-0 run on a bucket and one by Thomas and a tough shot in traffic by Richy Rodriguez to go up 15 by the Chargers responded with a 5-0 run of their own to stay close.

Enter Hunter Murphy, the senior sharp shooter who can blazing hot in a minute and did just that in a three-minute spurt in the latter stages of the third quarter when he scored 10 of his teams next 13 points to push the lead to 52-34.

Ansonia would get no closer than 16-points entering the fourth quarter as the overall skill of the home team took hold.

Murphy would finish with 17 points.

With a near 10-player rotation at this point, Gamari can afford in games like this to mix and match until he finds something that works, as it finally did on Tuesday night.

Not every win is going to be pretty, but they are still placed in the "W" column regardless of how a team gets there.

It's a fast turnaround for Torrington who travel on Wednesday to take on Oxford before returning home to tackle Woodland on Friday night.

The Raiders stand at 4-2 on the year, good for fifth place overall in the NVL.

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