Raiders working towards ultimate goal; one game at a time.
Torrington junior Aly Otis drives for a lay-up during her team's 65-38 win over Ansonia in the opening round of the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament. .
HOLY CROSS HIGH SCHOOL, WATERBURY-There has been a strong resolve attached to this season’s Torrington girls basketball team that may just spell something pretty special by the time the season ends.
The Raiders hope that ending won’t come about until, let’s say, March 18 or 19 in Uncasville, the site of the State finals.
That happens to be were the finals of the State Tournament will be held. A lofty goal indeed but for a team that likes to preach taking one game at a time, keeping that prize in the back of their minds can’t be a bad thing.
Playing a game on Thursday against a strong Class LL team (Laurelton Hall) that almost didn’t get played, may have boosted their confidence to the level it takes to believe themselves that they can play with any team in Class L or beyond.
The Raiders came out with a hard fought 57-51 win over a team that had been consistently ranked in the top 10 in state polls.
Saturday afternoon in the second game of four in the Naugatuck Valley League Tournament, Torrington rolled out to a 17-0 lead over Ansonia en route to an easy 65-38 win.
Good things happened in the first of three games the Raiders need to win to take the next prize they have their sites set on; the NVL Championship.
Sarah Royals, who has been an amazing player and leader this year, became the teams all time leading scorer in the second quarter when she hit a jumper from the right side to tally her 10th point of the night and 1494th or her career.
Christine Strawson (Gamari) had held the record for the girls since her graduation in 2004 with 1493 points.
The game, like so many others for the Raiders, was over before the end of the first quarter when they led the Chargers (10-11) by a 24-4 score.
Ansonia did not get on the board until there was 1:39 left in the quarter.
That’s what makes what happened on Thursday so much more important to this team.
First off, the team wanted to play this game, wanted a higher level of competition going into the second season.
“They (Lauralton Hall) brought a higher level of intensity than we see most nights,” senior co-captain Taylor Christiano said, “They reminded us a lot of Holy Cross with their speed and aggressiveness. It felt good to play against a team we didn‘t know.”
Playing teams that are foreign to the Raiders will be the norm in a few weeks when the States start, the tune up could not have come at a better time.
From here on in, the gimmies are probably over, starting Monday night when Torrington plays an energized Woodland Hawks team looking to avenge a 56-43 loss to the Raiders back on February 11.
The Hawks came back late in their game against Seymour to come away with a 54-52 win behind 22 points from Lindsay Feducia and 16 from Heather Framski.
Framski knows her team will have to play better to come out of Monday’s game with a chance at the title.
“We have to hold on to the ball better than we did last time,” Framski said, “And control the boards.”
It was a pick you poison moment for Torrington in the toss up between Framski and Seymour star Christina Cretella (29 points in the loss).
Both present match up problems for the Raiders, who may have found some answers to the size they need underneath from a sophomore who has been giving her team huge minutes the past two games.
Megan Calabrese has been playing with a great deal more confidence since mid-season and scored five points against Ansonia after helping a foul plagued starting lineup on Thursday night in Milford.
So, starting Monday night, it’s seriously for keeps.
Six wins to the ultimate goal. Two more in the NVL’s; four in the States.
NOTES: Holy Cross and St Paul will face off in the second game on Monday night.
St Paul beat Sacred Heart by a 39-35 score while Holy Cross took care of Watertown by a 56-31 score.