TORRINGTON >> After a week’s layoff with holidays and weather, Torrington’s boys basketball team (4-1) still had enough going to beat Wolcott (1-4) handily, 61-44.
Still, at times, the reasons seemed mysterious.
“Both teams looked like they hadn’t played in a week,” said Torrington coach Eric Gamari.
Especially early in the game.
It took almost two minutes for the game’s first points to drop.
Torrington couldn’t rebound. Wolcott couldn’t sink a layup.
With 6:22 left in the first quarter, 0-0, Gamari called time out.
“I told them they had to play harder or I’d do a hockey line shift,” he said.
So, the game’s first point was a Wolcott foul shot by senior Mike Druan.
Eight seconds later, Torrington freshman Dom Sabia put Torrington’s first point up with another foul shot.
The game was on, but so were the whistles.
In a first half that may still ring in players’ ears, four Raiders had two or more fouls; six Eagles had two apiece.
Wolcott missed nine layups in those first two minutes. The Eagles were 7-for-19 from the foul line for the night, compared with Torrington’s 14-for-21.
“We can rebound the ball,” said Wolcott coach Matt Craig. “We have younger guys who are pretty big. But layups and foul shots are definitely our Achilles heel right now.”
Wolcott never overcame their weaknesses; Torrington did — sometimes.
“We had a lot of people play well in spurts,” said Mancini.
Sophomore Zak Mancini was first. After five 3-pointers in the first quarter of a game two weeks ago, Mancini burned bright again early in this one.
The speedy guard nailed three treys in a row for Torrington’s first points from the field, good for a 10-7 lead with 3:50 still left in the first period.
John McCarthy joined in with a couple of foul shots; Sabia hit two more.
Mancini and Spencer Mourges had the period’s last five points. Mancini converted a steal into a layup. Mourges buried a three from the corner, 20-9.
Key players on each side got into foul trouble.
Still, the game was never close again.
Eagle center Samari Thomas gave Torrington its biggest rebounding fits early. The 6’4” sophomore shared team-high scoring honors with senior guard Vincent Gambino with 10 points apiece.
Torrington scoring honors came in those fits and starts.
Mancini, with those 11 first-quarter points, finished with a game-high 17.
Zagrodnik, with a solid all-around game, had 12.
Desmond Langs, Torrington’s 6-3 center, handled Thomas after the first quarter, pulling his weight on rebounds, then cashing in for 11 points.
The bursts gave the Raiders leads of 40-19 at the half and 50-31 after three quarters.
“Wolcott always plays hard,” said Gamari.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Wolcott’s Coach Craig. “We’re trying to get a little better every night.”
Torrington 61, Wolcott 44
At Torrington High School
Wolcott 9 10 12 13—44
Torrington 20 20 10 11—61
Wolcott (44): Adam Santopietro 0-0-0; Mike Druan 3-2-8; Jayson Matos 2-0-5; Vincent Gambino 4-1-10; Cole Nelson 1-0-2; Nate Filippone 0-0-0; Shamari Thomas 4-2-10; Chris Maisto; Cole Phelps 1-2-4; Thomas Longo 1-0-2; Chris Pelletier 1-0-3; A.J. Phillipi 0-0-0. Totals: 17-7-44.
Torrington (61): John McCarthy 2-2-6; Zak Mancini 6-2-17; Mitch Zagrodnik 5-1-12; Desmond Langs 3-5-11; Connor Finn 2-0-4; Spencer Mourges 1-0-3; Jacob Buccio 0-0-0; Jerry Aguero 0-0-0; Tim Considine 0-0-0; Victor Diaz 0-0-0; Stefan LaForge 0-0-0; Dom Sabia 2-4-8. Totals: 21-14-61.
3-point goals: W—Matos; Gambino; Pelletier. T—Mancini 3; Zagrodnik; Mourges.
Records: Wolcott 1-4; Torrington 4-1.