TORRINGTON — After a disappointing loss at Wolcott Tuesday, Torrington’s boys basketball team came home with its A game Friday night, running and shooting past Oxford for an 83-43 smoking.
“Torrington is a very, very good team and we didn’t play well,” said Oxford coach Matt D’Amico. “We’ve got height and talent; we’re just not getting it done.”
Torrington coach Eric Gamari’s evaluation is all about getting it done.
“What we learned from (come-from-behind losses to) Wolcott and Crosby is, we have to compete the whole time,” Gamari said. “Tonight, our energy was better, our concentration was better, and our defense was better.”
Those elements were in place from the tip-off Friday. Concentration showed up in an opening 3 by Joel Villanueva (15 points). Energy was in place in T.J. Calabrese’s three-foot runner and a pull-up jumper by Dontae Thomas (game-high 23 points). It produced a 7-0 bulge in the first two minutes.
Oxford scored its first basket with 5:25 left in the first period. The Red Raiders led 22-10 at the end of the quarter, with scoring by Tyreek Davis, T.J. Calabrese and an impressive starting debut by sophomore Matt Rylander.
The Raiders were just starting their engines.
In the first two minutes of the second quarter, in a 10-0 run, Nick Balducci and C.J. Root (13 points, four 3s) fired up 3-pointers and the Torrington running game took flight in fast break finishes by Thomas and Calabrese.
Midway through the period, a put-back by Zach McLaughlin (10 points) made the spread 45-14. Oxford’s Wheeler and Hunter Keller (team-high 14 points, four 3s) got hot for a combined four treys before the half, but the game was long gone by then at 54-23.
Like a moving train, Torrington gained momentum through the second half on offense and defense, turning swarming steals into lighting fast breaks. Oxford’s Cayden Mitchell scored five of his 10 points, but nothing was stopping the Raiders Friday.
The pace was almost too fast as a couple of Torrington players rolled ankles in the charge, but bench players, too, came out focused, concentrating and ready to play.
Torrington improves to 5-3; 5-2 NVL, with its next game at Wilby Monday night. Oxford, 2-6; 1-6 NVL, hosts WCA.
TORRINGTON 83, OXFORD 43
At Torrington High School
Oxford 10 15 10 8 – 43
Torrington 22 32 17 12 – 83
Oxford (43): Nick Wheeler 2-2-7; Charles Flowers 3-0-6; Cayden Mitchell 3-3-10; Hunter Keller 4-0-14; Tanner Soracco 2-1-5; Simon Smith 0-1-1; Totals: 15-7-43.
Torrington (83): Dontae Thomas 10-2-23; Nick Balducci 1-0-3; Tyreek Davis 3-0-7; Joel Villanueva 5-3-15; T.J. Calabrese 2-0-4; C.J. Root 4-1-13; Matt Rylander 4-0-8; Zach McLaughlin 5-0-10; Totals: 34-6-83.
3-point goals: O – Wheeler; Mitchell; Keller 4. T – Thomas; Balducci; Davis; Villanueva 2; Root 4.
Records: Oxford 2-6; 1-6 NVL. Torrington 5-3; 5-2 NVL.