Raiders fall to Bulldogs by a final of 77-72.
TORRINGTON: One team had their collective heads handed to them last time out, the other hadn’t played for 11 days.
In stretches on Wednesday night as 2019 basketball action got back underway, you could see it.
Visiting Crosby had been blown out the gym in a 95-75 loss to Waterbury Career Academy five days ago and came in really needing a comeback effort while homestanding Torrington just needed to get back on the court.
The Bulldogs pulled out a close one, 77-72 on the strength of 12-3 pointers and four players in double figures and a stifling trap that led to a pair of runs that made the difference in the game.
“This was a hallmark game for us,” Crosby head coach Nick Augelli said. “We had to win this one. Last game we didn’t play well, we got blown out and didn’t have any teamwork or energy. Tonight, all the things that had been missing came together, especially in the fourth quarter.”
Torrington was led by senior Tyreek Davis who had a game high 24 points and Joel Villanueva who added 15 in a game the Raiders led for a good portion before falling prey to the traps in the third and fourth quarters.
“This is the first time in about two weeks that we played it right,” Augelli said. “We had the good rotation to the ball and good doubles.”
For the home team, it was a case of getting caught up in the pressure instead of finding the open man.
“I just think we handled it poorly,” Gamari said. “Instead of passing the ball, we wanted to dribble. It was a moment of weakness which we have to work on. I think we did a poor job of pushing the pace tonight.”
The Raider offense is predicated on running, running and then for good measure, running some more, even against an athletic team like the Bulldogs.
A tightly played first quarter ended with Villanueva hitting a last second three pointer from just behind the half court line for an 18-14 lead.
The visitors stayed close with long balls of their own in the second quarter when they connected on five to pull within two at 39-37 at the half.
Torrington grabbed their biggest lead at 34-27 after a Dontae Thomas three pointer but a 7-0 run by the Bulldogs kept them within striking distance.
Once again, the home team started strong in the third quarter off the strength of a three ball by Davis and four points from TJ Calabrese (8 points) to grab their biggest lead of the night at 48-40 before the Bulldogs unleashed the ball trap and went on a 9-0 run.
“We played good defense, we had good traps,” Augelli said. “We had good rotations and made some good decisions down the stretch.”
To their credit, the Raiders battled back to retake the lead at 50-49 on another bucket by Calabrese and a pair of free throws by Davis.
A 7-2 run by Crosby tied things at 57 as the two teams entered the fourth.
The Bulldogs were up 63-62 when they went back to the ball trap that forced three straight Torrington turnovers that opened their lead up to 69-62 and the home team never caught up from there.
“We had everything under control until that two-minute stretch there,” Gamari said. “It got away from us.”
Kerwin Prince and Jordan Santos led the visitors with 19 points each while Tyler Spears added 17 and Justin Davis 15.
Kevin Dixon continued his strong play with 10 points.
Torrington falls to 3-2 while the Bulldogs improve to the same mark.
The Raiders travel to take on St Paul on Friday while the Bulldogs head to The Palace to take on Sacred Heart the same night.