TORRINGTON >> Torrington’s boys basketball team unleashed a game-long full court press, swarming over a scrappy Oxford team en route to a 74-64 victory Wednesday night at Torrington High School.
“In our first three games of the season, we tried to just play steady and we came out 0-3,” said Red Raider Coach Eric Gamari. “After the New Year, we decided we needed to flip the switch because we’re deep.”
Since then, the Raiders are 3-0 with the lights on bright.
Starting with a platoon system in five-man waves against Wolcott last week, Torrington cranked it up to organized (and sometimes disorganized) chaos against Oxford.
“We found we have huge depth, so we have the reserves to refresh our press,” said forward Jordan Henneberry, part of a down-low defense that contested every shot near the basket.
“We’re only in there for four minutes at a time, so we can bust it every second because we know we’re going to get a break,” said guard Dontae Thomas, part of a perimeter defense that made every Wolverine pass an adventure.
In a first quarter full of turnovers on both sides, Torrington raced through to a 17-9 lead with scoring contributions from five Raiders.
In the second period, Hunter Murphy stepped up for 7 of his 9 points for the game, but the Wolverines also made their case.
Murphy, Stephon Dailey (10 points) and Tyreek Davis (team-high 17 points) connected for the first three baskets and a 24-9 lead.
Then the Wolverines found their way through the press on a 15-7 run all the way back to 31-24 with two minutes left in the half.
“Torrington is a very good team. They play hard and they play fast,” said Oxford Coach Matt D’Amico. “We turned it over too many times, but we fought back.”
Still, the Wolverines were outnumbered in the fight.
Joel Villanueva (12 points) popped up for two baskets at the end of the half, bringing the Raider lead back to 35-26.
Henneberry was ready for his scoring turn in the third quarter, with all nine of his game points.
Davis, spending much of his time rejecting shots in the first three quarters, took over scoring duties for a monster 13 points in the final period, including 5-for-6 from the foul line down the stretch.
Thomas and Dailey made it a combined 11-for-12 Torrington foul shooting in the final period.
The Raiders needed every point. While they put up 24 points for the quarter, the Wolverines scored 29 behind Cole Chudoba (13 of his game-high 24 points) and 6-for-6 free-throw shooting from Will Richter (13 points) and Mike Michaud (13 points).
“It was a great game,” said D’Amico.
“We have to play this way,” said Gamari.
Torrington 74, Oxford 64
At Torrington High School
Oxford 9 17 9 29 — 64
Torrington 17 18 15 24 — 74
Oxford (64): Cole Chudoba 10-1-24; Will Richter 5-3-13; Charles Flowers 4-0-8; Mike Michaud 3-7-13; Joe Yacovelli 0-0-0; Zach Geffert 4-1-6; Julian Ferrante 0-0-0; Nick Wheeler 0-0-0; Totals: 24-12-64.
Torrington (74): Andrew Languell 1-0-2; Richy Rodriguez 1-0-3; Tyreek Davis 6-5-17; Nick Dalla Valle 1-0-3; Dontae Thomas 2 1-0-2; Richy Rodriguez 1-0-3; Tyreek Davis 6-5-17; Nick Dalla Valle 1-0-3; Dontae Thomas 2-4-9; Joe Villanueva 6-0-12; Jordan Henneberry 4-0-9; Stephon Dailey 3-2-10; Hunter Murphy 4-1-9; Adrian Gonzalez 0-0-0; Totals: 28-12-74.
Halftime score: 35-26 Torrington
3-point goals: O — Chudoba 3; Geffert. T — Rodriguez; Dalla Valle; Thomas; Henneberry; Dailey 2.
Records: Oxford 2-5; Torrington 3-3.