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Raiders move to 18-1 with 56-39 win over Crosby. Lauralton Hall on deck.

POSTED February 16, 2011
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

WATERBURY- Sometimes the best thing for a team that gone largely unchallenged most of the season, a late in the year matchup against a top team in the state may be just what the doctor ordered.

After overcoming a sleepy first half against the Crosby Bulldogs, the Torrington girls basketball team turned it on in the second half and ran away with a 56-39 win.

Their Naugatuck valley regular season in the books with an 18-1 record and a share of the Copper Division Championship in hand, the Raiders await the next challenge which will come in tow days.

Torrington will travel down to Milford to take on Lauralton Hall on Thursday night for an out of conference game against the Crusaders (14-3).

The game has been tough for the Raiders to get in because of the weather which caused it to be postponed in mid-January.

While the Raiders may have like to have played this game earlier in their schedule, it should help them get ready for the upcoming NVL Tournament and the States.

“We need a game like that,” Sarah Royals said, “They will be as good as any team we see in the States.”

Royals scored 28 points and won the NVL scoring title for the second consecutive season.

Her seven-point third quarter helped the visitors stretch out a too close for comfort 22-20 halftime score.

The Bulldogs, coached by former Crosby standout Phil Lott, needed one more win to make the States but fell one game short in his first year on the bench.

“It took them a while to catch on to what I was trying to do with them,” Lott said, “But they have started to play better of late.”

Janelle Johnson (14 points) hit a shot at the buzzer at the end of the second quarter to cap off a 10-1 run that brought the home team back to within two at the half.

Lorie and Linda Saunders provided plenty of size on the glass on they out rebounded the Raiders in the first half.

After a ‘chat’ with head coach Mike Fritch at the break, Torrington came out with a different level of defensive intensity in the third quarter and it paid dividends right off the bat.

A Royals drive was followed by an Aly Otis (16 points) jumper from the corner to push the lead back up to six.

After shooting poorly from the line in the first half (4-10), the Raiders settled down at the line in the second, converting 7 of 9 chances in the last two periods.

An 11-2 run over the first four minutes of the third, lit by the defensive pressure of Royals and Otis, pushed the lead up to 12 at 33-21.

To their credit, the Bulldogs kept the intensity up throughout the game, closing the gap back to 40-31 after three quarters.

Crosby cut the lead back to seven at 42-35 with 7”06 to go but a sweet turnaround jumper by Taylor Christiano started a 13-0 run that featured another Royals steal and breakaway basket along with a jumper from Otis, who has become a viable offensive threat down the stretch of this season.

NOTES: The Naugatuck Valley League Tournament starts this Saturday, February19.

Torrington finished tied with Holy Cross for the top spot but lost the coin toss and will be the number two seed.

The Raiders will play in the 1:45 p.m. game against, it appears, Ansonia.

Torrington beat the Chargers by a 61-35 back on January 20 at Ansonia.

Round One will be played at Holy Cross, with the semi-finals scheduled for Monday at Kennedy, the same site as the finals which will take place on Wednesday.

Can you say; Holy Cross-Torrington round three?

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