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Raiders back in action against Hawks on Friday night.

POSTED February 11, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

Sarah Royals of the Torrington girls basketball team, lets fly on her game tying three pointer that banked in with no time remaining on the clock. Royals was fouled by Angelica Ariola and sank the free throw to give the Raiders a 59-58 win over Holy Cross. Both teams now sport 16-1 records.

TORRINGTON-When the Torrington girls basketball team returns to the court tonight to play the Woodland Hawks, they will need to leave the cloud they landed on after the euphoria they experienced on Tuesday night.

Nobody who was in that gym will soon forget when Sarah Royals hit a three-point prayer from half court and the ensuing free throw as time expired to give the Raiders an improbable 59-58 against Holy Cross.

Most had never seen such a play in person and may not ever again, it was that unusual.

There is still unfinished business in this regular season for Torrington (16-1) and it starts tonight with the Hawks, who come in with a 14-3 record.

“We need to be ready to play on Friday,” head coach Mike Fritch said Tuesday night after the emotional win over the Crusaders, “If we don’t win Friday, tonight didn’t mean a thing.”

With both rivals now 16-1, it’s a fight to the finish, although you can bet there’s a good chance these two will meet again in the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament, scheduled to start on Saturday, February 19 at Holy Cross.

Round two and the finals will be held ay Kennedy High School on Monday, February 21 and Wednesday, February 23, respectively.

After taking on the Hawks tonight, the Raiders will be in Waterbury on Tuesday to play a much improved Crosby Bulldog team that is 7-11 going into action tonight.

Woodland brings a big player in Heather Framski, who is second to Royals in scoring this season with just over 19 points per game.

The Hawks can score, averaging just under 57 points per game while the Raiders are just over 60 per game.

For a team that sets goals each game and is usually pretty good at achieving them, count on one of them being holding the visitors considerably under their season average.

Will there be a hangover effect for Torrington?

After all, before the Royals miracle on the hardwood, the home team had been outplayed in the second third and part of the fourth quarter against the Crusaders.

Making their free throws proved huge in the win; hitting on 26 of 29 for the game allowed them to stay in the game while Cross struggled (8 for 15) in the final eight minutes.

Aly Otis (game high 19 points) played her best offensive game of the season after spraining her ankle two days earlier and will need to bring that offensive mindset to the floor again as the Hawks will certainly try to contain Royals.

The Crusaders did a good job most of the night in frustrating the Albany bound senior who committed her fourth foul with five minutes left in the fourth.

Royals finished with 18 points and was terrific from the line, connecting on eight of nine attempts.

Foul trouble was wide spread on Tuesday night, something the home team will try to avoid tonight against the Hawks.

After taking on the Bulldogs on Tuesday night, the Raiders will have one game to try and make-up; a meeting with Lauralton Hall which may be played on Wednesday the 16 on the road.

Lauraton Hall, a tough LL team, sports a 12-3 record going into action tonight.

NOTES: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on WAPJ (105.9 or 89.9 f.m.). Pre-game starts at 6:50 p.m.

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