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Raiders two wins from Mohegan Sun. West Haven tonight at 6:30.

POSTED March 11, 2019
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: Tonight, in what should be one rocking Connie Donahue Gymnasium, the Torrington boys’ basketball team continues their journey through the post season as they host West Haven in a Division III Quarterfinal game at 6:30.

The Blue Devils, ranked # 13 in division, come in after beating Naugatuck Valley League member St Paul, 57-49 in the opening round and Wilcox Tech, 68-63 in their second-round game while the Raiders took care of Stratford, 72-47 in their second-round game after earning a first round bye.

It’s been a pretty special season for Torrington after a 15-5 regular season that was followed up by an appearance in the NVL finals, something they had not done in a decade and they look to keep the magic going in a game that matches up similar teams.

Both teams love to run, especially the Raiders.

Both teams love to shoot the three-pointer, especially the Blue Devils who attempted over 30 in their win over St Paul.

Each has shown they can throw some defense at you when needed, the Raiders, behind CJ Root, disrupted Stratford in the second half of their second-round game and ran away with the game thanks to that effort.

West Haven focused their energy on the defensive side of the ball on DeJuan Ranson, the all-time leading scoring for Wilcox Tech in check long enough and at key times in the second half of their win in the second round.

The Blue Devils Are led by for captains, Malcolm Duncanson (5’ 11” sophomore), Shea Shefield (5’9”, junior), Mufee Cooper (5’9”, senior) and Quannel Straugher (5’8”, senior).

Cooper led his team with 17 points in the second-round win while Duncanson added 15 and Straugher pitched in with 14.

West Haven is an athletic team that reminds Torrington head coach Eric Gamari of a couple of NVL teams.

“They remind me of Derby and Kennedy,” Gamari said. “They’re quick and love to shoot the three pointers.”

This is not an impossible draw for the Raiders, not one that you shake your head at and say, “tough break on the draw”.

The Raiders have shown they can play with most teams this year and if a running game is on tap, that suites the Torrington style to a “T”.

It is, regardless of outcome, the final home game for seniors Dontae Thomas, Tyreek Davis, Joel Villanueva, CJ Root and Kevin Dixon, the most likely starting five for the home team tonight.

They have already made this a memorable season inside the Connie with an 8-1 home record and tonight should be a wild one in a gymnasium that has seen its share of amazing nights.

Keys to tonight?

Davis, who will be honored before the game for scoring over 1300 points in his high school career (not all with THS), will need to be the player he was during the NVL tournament when he was one of the best players on the court during those three games.

The senior, who is committed to play at The Gunnery next season, has thrived in games against athletic teams and will need to have a high-quality game on Monday night.

Thomas is the player who runs the show on offense and will need to be on his game against a team that see’s athletic and fast guards all the time in the competitive Southern Connecticut Conference against teams like Notre Dame of Fairfield, Fairfield Prep, Weaver and Cheshire.

West Haven posted a 12-8 regular season record but don’t let that fool you, this is a tough team.

Villanueva, Dixon and Root will need to help balance the offense and keep things solid on defense.

If Torrington keeps the train rolling, they would get the winner of the Shelton/Amistad game on Wednesday night at a neutral location.

They need a pair of wins to book a trip to Uncasville this weekend.

The road is tough but not impossible for the Raiders.

-NOTES: Tonight, is a “White Out” night as all Raider fans are being asked to wear white so inside the Connie Donahue matches the color of the home teams’ uniforms and the ground outside.


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