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Raiders girls improve to 17-1 with complete. 56-43 win over Woodland.

POSTED February 12, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON-“This game had all the earmarks of a game we could lose,” Torrington girls basketball head coach Mike Fritch said, “It was Senior Night, we had just come off an emotional win against Holy Cross two night ago and it was our third game of the week.”

How many times have we seen a scenario like this play out poorly for the team in the middle of all three of those things?

Plenty of times over the years but not this year; not with this team.

The Raiders jumped out to a 7-0 lead, never trailed and never looked back in beating a good team from Woodland by a 56-43 score.

The win clinches at least a tie of the Copper Division Championship, Torrington’s third in the last four years.

At 17-1 with one game to go (a planned game with Laurelton Hall, snowed out in January, will not be played), on the road Tuesday at Crosby, the Raiders are poised and tested as the prepare for the Naugatuck Valley League Championships and the State Tournament.

Friday night was not a game the home team could afford to lose, it kept them ranked third in the Class L rankings, something Fritch wants to keep intact.

“If we win out, we stay ranked third,” Fritch said, “I was very proud of how the team played tonight. This is a special group, I’ll miss the seniors.”
The upperclassmen, Sarah Royals, Gena Pietrefase, Taylor Christiano and Brittany Kackowski, were honored before the game with their families at half court.

All would start and while Pietrefase normally would not start, she made herself right at home by draining a three pointer the first time she touched the ball to give her team an early 5-0 lead.

There would be no coming from behind on this night; Torrington led from wire to wire with the lead ballooning to 16 in the third quarter.

It was vintage Raider basketball during a fast first quarter start fueled by two baskets by Aly Otis (12 points) and Kackowski who showed good touch on two straight jumpers in the lane.

There were steals by Otis, Royals and a Otis block on Heather Framski, who came into the game second in scoring in the NVL behind Royals.

Framski would score 19 (her average), but would have to work hard for every point.

Unsung and un-talked about Morgan Thulin, who has made herself know around the league this season, kept herself in front of Franski while directing traffic when her team was on defense, something noticed by Otis.

“I love playing with Morgan,” Otis said, “She sets up behind me on defense and tells me were I need to be. She communicates very well on the court.”

Getting off to fast starts has been a Torrington staple most of the season, maintaining that intensity in the next quarter has at times been an issue, but not on Friday night.

A 15-point first led to a 15- point second and a 30-19 lead at the break.

As on any other night, Fritch had set goals for his team coming in.

“We needed to hold them to 52 points, they scored 43,” Fritch said, “We knew Framski would get her points but we needed to stop (Lindsay) Feducia and we held her to just 10 points.”

Nicole Kozlak found her three-point range on consecutive trips in the second quarter; having Kozlak as a viable threat from the outside will be critical as the post season gets near.

Royals would lead the offensive charge in the third quarter by scoring nine points to keep the visitors at bay.

The Hawks rode the hot hand of Feducia in the third as well, the senior guard scored seven of her ten points in the frame.

Up 47-34 going to the fourth, the home team played solid defense and Royals scored seven of her teams nine points to wrap this one up.

All four seniors were taken out one at a time and the home crowd, which hopes to be in the building a few more times in the post-season.

NOTES: The NVL Tournament start on February 19 with round one being played at Holy Cross. The semi-finals and finals will be held at Kennedy High School on February 14 and 16 respectively.

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