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Sluggish Raiders get by Seymour, 62-45. Improve to 3-1.

POSTED December 22, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

It wasn't pretty but Paige Middleton and the Torrington girls beat Seymour by a 62-45 score on Monday night in Torrington. Middleton led all scorers with 22 points.

TORRINGTON: It’s Christmas time, it’s shopping time, and it’s early in the season.

Any number of those reasons could explain why the Torrington girls’ basketball team looked as sluggish as they did at times on Monday night, even as they came away with a 62-45 win over Seymour to improve to 3-1 on the young season.

Sure, Paige Middleton (22) and Brie Pergola (20) led the offensive way and sure, the Raiders never gave up more than 13 points in a quarter in winning their pre-Christmas break game.

At the same time though, this game was a letdown considering how well the Raiders played in a 69-66 loss to Holy Cross in overtime on Friday night.

“I expected a letdown,” head coach Mike Fritch said. “We didn’t have a great day at practice yesterday. It was quick and to the point and we did everything we were supposed to do but it was not the tenacious, hard, fighting kind of work I like to see prior to a game and they know it.”

Against the Crusaders, the Raiders missed 14 layups that could have changed the outcome.

Against a no-where near as strong Wildcats team, the misses in close continued to come but their talent level eventually got them out of trouble.

Seymour kept things close in the first, less on their own doing than the missteps the home team committed, turning the ball over on three of their first five possessions.

Middleton and Pergola scored all the Torrington points in opening frame, which ended knotted at 10 all.

It’s an interesting combo, this Pergola/Middleton duo.

Pergola, who Holy Cross head coach called one of the top five players in the Naugatuck Valley League, appears to have the skills to take over a game at any point by simply being the most talented player on the court but you don’t get the feeling the sophomore knows it.

Middleton on the other hand is the scrappy, drive to the basket, take a beating kind of competitor who has to work hard for everything she gets.

Torrington pushed the lead out with a 2 point second quarter and where never really threatened but the two above mentioned standouts are going to need help from others as the season goes on.

The rest of the Raider team is still a work in progress with some talented athletes who are working their way into becoming basketball players who can consistently contribute, especially on the offense end.

Senior Brittany Anderson and junior Caitlyn Cornish come to the Raiders as stars on other teams; Anderson an All-NVL softball player and Cornish an All-NVL volleyball star.

Each has something that Fritch wants.

“I like their leadership and their desire to win,” Fritch said. “You can’t instill winning unless you’ve won and both of them have. Those two kids are winners. Kendra (Covington) is a winner.”

As far as getting Pergola to understand just how good she can be, Fritch thinks that time and maturity should fix that.

“If she misses a couple of shots, the age factor takes over and she’s not going to shoot,” Fritch said.

Pergola has the stroke, the instinct and the basketball IQ, but only time and experience can take care of the rest.

Torrington is playing seven players at the core right now with Mia Barbieri and Taylor Howe in the rotation as well.

Barbieri has shown signs of being a force underneath while Howe is looked to by the coaching staff as the point guard, a role she is gradually working into.

If Howe gets stronger on the point, it allows Pergola and Middleton an opportunity to move without the ball in order to create chances for themselves.

The Raiders break for Christmas and won’t return to action until they face one of the best teams in the state when they host Weaver on Monday, December 29.

It’s a busy week to end the year for Torrington who hit the road to face Kennedy the next night and then come back to the Connie Donahue on Saturday, January 3 to take on Avon.

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