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Second half surge boosts Raiders past WCA

POSTED January 23, 2019
BY Rick Wilson
Twitter: @scribewilson

           TORRINGTON – Don’t get Tyreek Davis wrong he would rather start the game instead of watching the start of the game. Yet, some early time on the bench Wednesday night didn’t exactly put a damper on his game. But his game put a damper on WCA.
           Davis came off the bench to score a team-high 22 points, including 16 in the second half to spark the Raiders to a 61-49 victory over WCA.

            “I don’t usually like coming off the bench but whatever the team needs, I’ll do,” said Davis. “If I have to come off the bench every game, I’ll do it.”
            Davis found himself in the uncustomary role of reserve after being under the weather in recent days and as coach Eric Gamari note a “lethargic” presentation in practice Tuesday.
            “I told him I was going to go with a different unit for tonight to start the game,” said Gamari.
            Nobody should get used to the change, but you have to admit it worked out pretty well.
            “(Tyreek) brings great energy when he works hard,” said teammate Dontae Thomas who also had a superb night with 19 points. “We get on him in practice all the time and he can be amazing.”
            Torrington needed every bit of Davis’ energy to help at least partially nullify a monster performance for the Spartans’ Marquan Watson who poured in a game-high 26 points and dominated the boards to the tune of 22 rebounds.
            After shooting the ball well in the first half while taking a 29-26 lead, Torrington came out on the sloppy side in the third quarter and WCA took advantage. The Spartans ran off seven straight points for a 33-29 lead while Torrington was turning the ball over four times.
            When Jonathan Edwards drained a 3-pointer at the 2:52 mark for a 36-33 lead, WCA looked more and more like it was seizing control of the game. Davis then turned the needle back towards Torrington both authoritatively and permanently.
            He got loose down low for a basket and added a foul shot to tie the game, 36-36. After Thomas drilled a 10-footer, Davis took a laser pass from Joel Villanueva (17 points) at the top of the key and hit the layup.
            Thomas added another medium range jumper and then Davis brought the Connie Donahue Gymnasium to a full roar when he buried a 3-pointer from the side at the buzzer to cap off period-ending run of 12 unanswered points for a 45-36 lead.
            “Our consistency is just not there,” said WCA coach Ronan O’Leary of the third quarter turnaround. “We lost six varsity players from last year and that (consistency) comes with experience. We’re a young team for the most part and that’s tough work against a good like Torrington.”
             Thomas would start the fourth quarter with a 15-footer to increase the run to 14 points before Watson final ended a six-minute dry spell that included just one basket with a three-point play. Torrington never let the lead sink below eight points the rest of the way, the last time at 55-47, with 3:59 to go.
             The Raiders did a solid job of taking time off the clock in the late going, often taking 30 seconds or more per possession. Davis scored 10 of his points in the final period, two baskets coming on his own put-backs.
              “I keep telling the guys, it’s team, team, team,” said Gamari. “We’re getting there. Dontae and Joel were special tonight. They were calm and poised and leaders tonight.”
               Throw Davis in coming off the bench and the Raiders continue to look like they will be a tough out wherever they go and against whoever they play.

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