TORRINGTON — Two struggling NVL girls basketball teams showed how unpredictable talented youth can be in Oxford’s 41-36 win over Torrington Wednesday night at Torrington High School.
“We needed that one,” said Wolverine coach Nora Curley, whose 2-7 team rode blossoming freshman Mikayla Walton’s four first-half 3-pointers into the win in a team-high 16-point night, including 4-for-4 free-throw shooting in the final quarter.
But Walton, with AAU experience and a shooting eye honed since she was five, had double-figure help from a pair of older teammates. Senior Jess Kondic, an All-State soccer midfielder, helped Oxford control the boards for much of the night while adding 10 points. Junior Paige Davis added 11 on a night in which way more shots missed than fell for both teams.
On the other side, freshman Leah Pergola was Torrington’s only blossom on a young vine Wednesday after the Red Raiders, starting 1-2, won three of their last four games.
Pergola scored a steady game-high 20 points, including nine in Torrington’s fourth-quarter effort to come back from a 31-18 deficit late in the third period.
“Our age caught up with us today,” said Coach Mike Fritch, whose starting lineup includes a senior, three juniors and a sophomore, but not much basketball experience.
“We showed our youth today because we didn’t have a good practice yesterday,” he said. “They’re too young to understand how much that counts.”
Nevertheless, sophomore Marissa Burger’s only five points of the night kept Torrington close before Walton opened up with her long-range barrage.
Entering the second quarter with a 10-9 Oxford lead after a first-period three-pointer from the corner, Walton nailed three more treys in the second quarter to boost the Wolverines to a 25-15 gap before Pergola drained a three of her own at the half-time buzzer.
Oxford won a third-quarter ugly basketball contest 6-4.
Pergola started her final move for Torrington, first with a put-back at the end of the third period, then followed by a great feed to freshman Juliana Latina at the start of the fourth.
Pergola’s drive to the basket and two foul shots got the Raiders to 33-28 with five minutes left.
Then Wolverines Walton, Maddie Sastram and Davis went a combined 5-for-6 from the line.
Age finally rolled backwards for the Raiders.