TORRINGTON >> The style of Holy Cross girls basketball’s 60-56 win at Torrington Friday evening looked familiar to NBA fans in the good-sized crowd at Torrington High School.
A fledgling squad of Red Raiders looked great through three quarters, leading by as much as 14 points late in the third period.
Then the Crusaders, pressing all game, warped into their hard press, tied the score 54-54 with 1:22 left in the game, took their first lead of the night seconds later and pulled away for the win.
After being held to as little as seven points in the first quarter and six in the third, Holy Cross scored 32 points in the final period.
Jaded NBA fans know the game doesn’t really count until the final quarter. Despite Torrington’s ability to dribble through the Crusader press for its first three quarters, experienced Holy Cross fans and opponents know there’s a lot more to come.
“We practiced for it by playing 6-on-5, but it’s different in a game situation,” said Torrington senior All-State guard/forward Brie Pergola, who got to the foul line for five of her team-high 13 points down the stretch.
“We practice different defenses; it’s made for us just to play hard,” said her counterpart, 5-2 Crusader guard Idalis Miranda.
Leading the fourth-quarter blitz, Miranda scored 13 of her game-high 25 points in that crucial stretch.
“The momentum changed on the scoreboard and in the minds of our players,” said Coach Frank Lombardo. “We were not ready to play tonight, but we did a good job changing our defense.”
“We didn’t execute in the fourth quarter when they amped up the pressure,” said Torrington Coach Mike Fritch, who was even more concerned about his team’s rebounding.
“We got killed on the boards (50-30) and we’re the same size as they are,” he said.
Nevertheless, if this was an NBA-type outcome, the Raiders proved they belonged on the same court as the team that’s won three of the last five NVL titles.
Forwards Sidnee Kovall (11 points) and Kayla Williams (10 points) combined for 12 of Torrington’s points in an 18-7 first-quarter lead that stretched to 11 early in the second.
Miranda fired off 10 points to lead the Crusaders back to six by the half.
Down to a three-point lead when Crusader Gabby Goldman opened the second half with a three, the Raiders refused to wilt.
Torrington guard Alexis Tyrrell hit Pergola with a great pass for a layup, then followed with a three and a put-back by Kovall.
Pergola finished the period with a drive, amping the Torrington lead to 42-28.
“They played well,” said Coach Fritch.
Then Holy Cross introduced newcomers to the real Crusader press.
On a different court, they might have said, “Welcome to a fourth quarter in the NBA.”
Holy Cross 60, Torrington 56
At Torrington High School
Holy Cross 7 15 6 32 – 60
Torrington 18 10 14 14 – 56
Holy Cross (60): Meg Villano 0-0-0; Izzy Plant 2-0-4; Idalis Miranda 8-7-25; Meah Austin 1-2-4; Meg Mazzatto 0-0-0; Gabby Goldman 2-0-5; Nevya Vermette 2-3-7; Aiyana Ward 3-9-15; Totals: 18-21-60.
Torrington (56): Alexis Tyrrell 3-1-8; Colleen Kilgore 1-0-2; Brie Pergola 3-7-13; Sidnee Kovall 5-1-11; Shannon Reardon 0-0-0; Sara Bardwell 0-0-0; Alyssa Maraia 2-2-7; Kirsten Gray 2-0-4; Kayla Williams 5-0-10; Totals: 21-11-56.
Halftime score: 28-22 Torrington
3-point goals: HC – Miranda 2; Goldman. T – Tyrrell 2; Maraia.
Records: Holy Cross 2-0; Torrington 1-1.