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Raiders get Eagles in Class L Second Round.

POSTED March 04, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: They have seen them twice; once in a convincing 25-point win, the second time in a sloppily played five-point win.

The Torrington girls’ basketball team starts their Class L State Tournament play on Thursday night at the Connie Donahue Gymnasium when they take on Naugatuck Valley League foe, Kennedy at 7 p.m. in second round action.

Thanks to their 19-1 record, the Raiders earned themselves a first round bye on Monday while the Eagles (#19) went on the road and beat Law (#14) by a 62-57 score behind 20 points from Sarah Emmanuel-Norwood.

Back on December 30, the Raiders traveled to Waterbury and had their way with Kennedy by a 63-38 score but in the recently completed Naugatuck Valley League Tournament, Torrington had to hold on for a 45-42 win in the semi-finals.

To say the Raiders did not play well would be a pretty big understatement.

“We were lucky to get away with a win,” Raiders head coach Mike Fritch said. “We didn’t execute well, we didn’t shoot well and we didn’t shoot free throws well.”

That game would lead to a bit of soul searching by the team the next day in practice before they took on Holy Cross in the finals.

Against the Crusader, Fritch and his coaches knew his team would need to handle relentless full court pressure all night so he put a little extra challenge in front of the Raiders, especially their ultra-talented sophomore, Brie Pergola.

A typical five on five practice tilted to a seven on five against the team Pergola was on.

“We told Brie that if she could handle the two extra defenders in practice,” Fritch said. “It would make it that much easier to break the press against just five.”

The plan was nearly flawless as the Raiders and Pergola dealt with the Holy Cross pressure just fine in a thrilling 56-55 win and their second NVL Title in the past three years.

Pergola, with the game broadcast live on CPTV (with our good friend Frankie Graziano running the show), gave viewers at home a look at what Raider and NVL fans have seen all year by scoring a game high 20-points.

Her four free throws late in the fourth quarter were the game winning points for Torrington.

Against the Eagles, the Raiders had a horrific night at the charity stripe, making just nine of 21 for the game.

Kennedy went into that game, played on their home court, feeling like they could play with Torrington and it showed on the court.

In their win over law, the Eagles trailed at the half by a 29-27 score but used a strong third quarter (16-11) to gain a lead they would not relinquish.

Which Torrington team will show up on Thursday?

Will it be the one that played against Holy Cross in the finals or the squad that struggled in the semi-finals?

Both ended with wins but the Raiders certainly don’t want to play with fire in a one and done scenario that comes with the States.

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