The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)
Torrington holds off Fitch, advances to quarterfinals
TORRINGTON — Torrington’s girls basketball team survived a Class L second round game against Fitch, 48-42, Thursday evening at Torrington High School.
In a classic trap game for No. 4 Torrington (19-4), both teams suffered through horrendous quarters after No. 13 Fitch (13-8) stayed with the Raiders through a 13-12 Torrington first quarter. Then they fell into a deep hole that produced a 5-2 Falcon second period and a 17-15 Fitch lead at the half.
For Torrington, the trap was playing its second Eastern Connecticut Conference in a row. Monday, in the first round, the Raiders beat No. 29 East Lyme 52-30, the same team that beat Fitch in an ECC regular-season game by three points last month. Who could blame Torrington for a wee bit of nonchalance?
A two-hour bus ride from Groton to Torrington may well have had something to do with the Falcons’ only slightly less horrendous second quarter Thursday.
Fitch, starting four juniors and a sophomore, came close to springing the trap in the third quarter, coming out as the good youthful team they are.
Junior Gabriella Dimock lit up the scoreboard with 10 of her teamhigh 16 points, including two three-pointers. Marietta El Khoury (10 points) added another.
This, in fact, was the Fitch team that smothered East Lyme in their first regular-season game 54-33.
Despite the fact that Torrington senior star Leah Pergola had her best quarter of the night — 13 of her game-high 27 points — it wasn’t enough when just two more points came from her teammates.
The Falcons won the quarter 19-15, moving into the final period with a 3630 lead. The trap seemed ready to close on the Raiders.
The fourth quarter pried it back open.
“This is a tough group,” said Torrington Coach Mike Fritch. “The kids do what they have to do.”
In the fourth quarter, that meant man-to-man defense stifling the Falcon shooters back to a sixpoint hole while the Raiders functioned as a complete team on offense for their best quarter of the night.
Pergola led the way with seven more points, including the final pair of foul shots from her 8for-8 night on the free throw line, but three other Raiders made huge contributions.
Haley Burger (six of her 10 points) and Amelia Boulli (all four points of her scoring) started the quarter on a 9-0 roll, giving the Raiders their first lead since early in the second quarter.
Pergola broke Torrington out of a 42-42 tie with her third three-pointer of the night. With 25 seconds left, a Burger foul shot made it a two-possession game for Falcon hopes, 46-42.
Pergola finished it off with two more foul shots in her perfect night on the line.
Now the Raiders face the happy dilemma of a state tournament double header at Torrington High School Monday.
The girls team hosts a quarter-final matchup with No. 12 Windsor, Thursday’s 40-37 winner over No. 5 Simsbury.
Torrington’s boys team, ranked No. 13 in Division III in the boys tournament, is scheduled to host a first-round game against No. 20 Stonington.
“This is all gravy now,” smiled Coach Fritch.