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This Week in LCS History. The Royals 4-point play.

POSTED February 08, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

February 8, 2011

TORRINGTON: In a shot heard 'round the state and one that would lead to a photographer's best blind squirrel moment, Torrington Red Raider Sarah Royals made one of the all-time great game-winning shots on her home court.

The teams are Naugatuck Valley League rivals, Holy Cross and Torrington. The Crusaders and Raiders under head coaches Frank Lombardo and Michael Fritch are always in the mix for the top spot in the regular season standings and have seen each other in tournament finals more times than not.

On this night, a typical Cross/Raider classic was shaping up. Neither team able to put the other away despite runs by both.

Alyssa Otis would lead the home team effort with a monster inside game that led to 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Royals would add 18.

Briana Bradford, one of the best players in the NVL that year, led the Crusaders with 18 points while guard Angelica Ariola finished with 15, but it was what Ariola did on the game's last play that helped the home team pull off the miracle.

It came down to the final four seconds with the Raiders in possession of the ball down 58-55.

Brittany Kackowski looks to inbound the ball and finds Royals ten feet from the baseline.

The Torrington forward turns, sprints towards midcourt and shot up a prayer.

At the same time, you hear a whistle blow and notice on the video that Ariola reached in just before half court, looking for the steal but getting called for the foul.

Royals follows through and the ball goes off the backboard and in for the game-tying points.

The impossible had become possible, all it would take now was a free throw for the win and Royals calmly nailed the bottom of the net for the 59-58 win.

Watch the video when you can and watch Raiders head Coach Mike Fritch and his priceless reaction that was worth the price of admission and showed that even before surgery, he could still jump with the best of them.

I was doing the game for the Register Citizen at the time and was also dabbling in the photo arena.

When they play got underway, I started shooting at soon as Royals made her first couple of steps up court and kept shooting until I saw the ball go in.

Now, at the time, I wasn’t sure what I had. It wasn’t until I got home and downloaded the pictures that I discovered I had gotten the perfect shot of it all.

The shot, Ariola reaching in, even the time on the clock when the ball left her hand which still had nearly 2 seconds left when it left her hand.

That is what I call my “blind squirrel gets a nut” shot. It’s all about being in the right position and letting the camera do the rest.

A remarkable game, a remarkable shot and a remarkable photo and video.

A day to remember for sure.

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