TORRINGTON — After pouring in 13 three-pointers on offense, Crosby’s defense finally put Torrington’s boys basketball team away, 77-72, Wednesday night at Torrington High School.
The Red Raiders (3-2; 3-1 NVL) answered Crosby’s outside shooting with great inside hustle and outside shooting of their own for a slim lead much of the way, but the Bulldogs (3-2; 3-1 NVL) clamped down with 5:45 to go in the final period, flipping four straight Raider turnovers from a one-point deficit into a 69-62 lead, with 3:49 left.
“One two-minute stretch did us in,” Torrington coach Eric Gamari said. “We panicked.”
“We’ve been struggling with our defense — we gave up 95 points (in a 95-75 loss to WCA) last game,” Crosby coach Nick Augelli said. “We tried man; we tried zone. Finally, we decided to go back to our old style — trapping and ball-hawking — the hallmark of what we used to do.”
Before the two-minute triumph/disaster, depending on one’s side, the teams were neck and neck, with a slight edge to the Raiders.
Crosby three’s came from everywhere in the first half — three for Jordan Santos (team-high 19 points; 5 threes); two apiece for Tyler Spears (17 points; 3 threes) and Justin Davis (17 points; 3 threes). Six-five forward Kerwin Prince (17 points; 1 three) even came out to the arc for a three-point turn.
Nevertheless, Torrington worked hard underneath. Tyreek Davis’ baseline drive tied the first-quarter score at 8-8; his coast-to-coast sprint gave the Raiders their first lead seconds later.
When Davis (game-high 24 points; 4 threes) and Joel Villaneuva (15 points; 3 threes) discovered their own outside shooting touch late in the quarter, the Raiders finished up 18-14 after one.
Torrington center Kevin Dixon hustled for six of his 12 points underneath in the second quarter, helping Torrington to a 39-37 lead at the half.
Crosby cranked up four more threes in the third quarter. The 57-57 score going into the fourth couldn’t have said any more clearly, “Anybody’s game.”
That line was good for two minutes; then the Bulldogs went old-style.
“We’ve been practicing nothing but defense for the past two days,” said Augelli.
The results: forced turnover, Crosby fast break; steal, Crosby fast break; forced turnover, Crosby fast break; Torrington travel, Crosby fast break.
“And then they made their foul shots down the stretch,” said Gamari.
One final three-pointer from Torrington’s Davis drew the Raiders to within 73-70 with 20 seconds left, but Prince and Crosby’s Davis were 4-for-4 at the line when Torrington was forced to stop the clock with fouls
“We’ll take a lot of lessons from this game,” said Gamari.
“We really needed this one,” said Augelli. “We face Sacred Heart Friday.”
Torrington picks it up Friday in a 5:30 p.m. game at 2-4 St. Paul Catholic.
Crosby 77, Torrington 72
Crosby14 23 20 20 — 77
Torrington18 21 18 15 — 72
Crosby (77): Kerwin Prince 4-6-17; Markeese Days 1-0-2; Tyler Spears 7-0-17; Justin Davis 6-2-17; Jordan Santos 7-0-19; Jonathan Rivera 1-0-3; Alex Batista 1-0-2; Totals: 28-8-77.
Torrington (72): Dontae Thomas 3-0-8; Nick Balducci 1-0-3; Tyreek Davis 7-6-24; Joel Villanueva 5-2-15; T.J. Calabrese 3-2-8; Zach McLuaghlin 1-0-2; Kevin Dixon 6-0-12; Totals: 26-10-72.
3-point goals: C — Prince; Spears 3; Davis 3; Santos 5; Rivera. T — Thomas 2; Balducci; Davis 4; Villanueva 3.
Records: Crosby 3-2; 3-1 NVL; Torrington 3-2; 3-1 NVL.