WATERBURY >> After leading for most of the first three quarters Torrington made two mistakes late in the third to give Holy Cross the momentum, preventing the Red Raiders from knocking off the undefeated Crusaders, 50-41.
“We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized,” said Torrington head coach Mike Fritch.
Holy Cross’s Casey DiZinno drilled an open three pointer, with 10 seconds in the quarter, to tie the game at 30 and then Crusaders guard Chelsea Houlihan, who finished with 13 points, intercepted the ensuing inbound pass and was fouled. She would hit both free throws giving the Crusaders a two point lead, 32-30 going into the final quarter.
“It was a terrible inbound pass, we fouled and she hit both free throws,” said Torrington head coach, Mike Fritch. “The goal was to win each quarter, we did that until the third and it started to slip away.”
DiZinno’s three pointer at the end of the third was the only shot she hit all game.
“We were lucky that Casey came in and hit that shot,” said Holy Cross head coach Frank Lombardo. “That one got us over the hump, when the momentum could have gone either way.”
The Crusaders, came in ninth in the GameTimeCT media poll, took the momentum from the end of the third quarter, outscoring the Red Raiders 18-11, en route to their 15th straight win to open the season.
“We’ve had two tough weeks,” said Lombardo. “We had big leads against Sacred Heart and St. Paul and we were just able to hang out, tonight was the other way.”
The Red Raiders (12-4) came out and took it right to the Crusaders (15-0), trailing 6-4 in the middle of the first quarter, Torrington would go on a 6-0 run led by freshman Brie Pergola and senior Caroline Teti to take a 10-6 lead. The Red Raiders would hold a one point lead going into the second quarter.
Then again when trailing 17-15 with 1:30 left in the half, Teti would hit a three pointer and then Pergola would drive through the lane for two points right before the buzzer, giving the Red Raiders a 20-17 lead into the locker room.
“They worked hard, they are well coached,” said Lombardo.
In the middle of third quarter the Crusaders’ guards began to drive to the lane and dish when a second Torrington defender came to help out, leaving a wide open Crusader under the basket.
“I tell my guards in practice to be quick off the dribble and try to beat their man and draw help,” said Lombardo. “Just lucky they went in.”
Crusaders senior forward, Kierra O’Donnell lead all scorers with 15 points.
Pergola, who came off the bench, led all Red Raiders with 13 points. She also caused matchup problems for Lombardo and the Crusaders.
“She would back down our shorter girls,” he said. “Then I put Robyn (Grimshaw) and Caitlin (Cipriano) our taller girls on her and she would drive. She had a superb game; she kept them in the game.”
Holy Cross looks to stay perfect this Friday night at home against Wilby, 7 p.m.
Even though they lost, Teti feels that the team still gained something from the loss.
“Of course this one hurts,” she said. “We did what we wanted; we proved we could play with them.”
They also won’t carry the loss into their next game at Crosby on Friday.
“We knew it would be our toughest game this month,” said Teti, who finished with six points. “We’ll practice and regroup.”
Holy Cross 50 Torrington 41
At Holy Cross
Holy Cross 9 8 15 18—50
Torrington 10 10 10 11—41
Holy Cross (50): Nicolette Lombardo 0-0-0; Jackie Duran 0-0-0; Robyn Grimshaw 1-1-3; Melissa Grocki 4-0-8; Chelsea Houlihan 3-7-13; RaShana Siders 0-3-3; Casey DiZinno 1-0-3; Kiera O’Donnell 5-3-15; Caitlin Cipriano 2-1-5. Totals: 16-15-50.
Torrington (41): Paige Middleton 2-0-4; Brie Pergola 5-3-13; Caroline Teti 2-1-6; Brittany Anderson 1-0-2; Mika Howard 0-0-0; Mia Barbieri 4-1-9; Olivia Morrison 2-0-4; Taylor Howe 1-0-3; Kendra Covington 0-0-0. Totals: 17-5-41.
3—point goals: HC – Kiera O’Donnell 2; Casey DiZinno. T – Caroline Teti; Taylor Howe.
Records: Holy Cross 15-0 Torrington 12-4.