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Royals (32 points) leads Raiders to easy win over Naugatuck on opening night.

POSTED December 08, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON — On opening night 2010, the Torrington girls basketball team found out some good things, along with some they want to work on as the season progresses.

First, the overall good, the Raiders rolled over visiting Naugatuck by a 72-39 score behind 32 points from senior captain Sarah Royals.

After a tight first quarter that saw the two teams play to a 13-13 tie, the home team outscored the visitors by a 59-24 score the next three.

Naugatuck, who graduated Raider nemesis Jess Weber a year ago, is young but has a talented guard in Lauren Pirascafo, who led her team with 21 points.

In the first eight minutes, the Raiders were ice cold from the field, especially from under the basket, missing their first nine shots, seven of them on blown lay-ups.

The ball movement was there, but the shots would not fall.

Naugatuck actually took an 11-9 lead off a traditional three point play from Pirascafo with a little more than two minutes left in the opening quarter.

Taylor Christiano, who finished with 10 points, shook off missing her first four shots of the season and scored on a nice move towards the end of the first.

The second quarter would belong to the Raiders, who outscored their opponent by a 22-7 score and may have found their third guard in the process.

When this team’s defense fuels the offense, it is a dangerous group, led by their star senior guard.

Royals led the way in the second with a 10-point run that featured a long 3 and a traditional three-point play.

The senior guard’s ability to take over a game is invaluable to the success of her team. In this case, the take over started when the defense plugged some holes in their press that had been exposed in the opening quarter.

Still, head coach Mike Fritch know he has to get two things from somebody on his bench.

“I need a third guard to spell Sarah and Mariah (Cerruto),” Fritch said. “And I need somebody else to take an outside shot.”

Both question may have been answered in game one.

Freshman Caroline Teti, who scored 20 points in the Torrington junior varsity game, came off the bench in the second quarter with about four minutes left and got her varsity nerves out of the way fast by draining a 3-pointer to put her team up by a 26-16 score.

Teti would connect again just before the half from long range and ended her first game on the big stage with nine points, all on the three ball.

Christiano made it a double-double with 10 rebounds while Morgan Thulin added eight boards and two points.

Torrington will be in action again on Friday when it travels to Waterbury to take on Wilby, a team that beat the Raiders by a 49-41 score a year ago, the first loss for the Raiders after starting the season with an 11-0 mark.

Not an easy second game by any means and Fritch knows his team will have to step things up, especially early in games.

“We have been starting slow for a while now, in our scrimmages and tonight,” Fritch said. “We won’t get away with that against a team like Wilby.”

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