BEACON FALLS — Woodland girls’ basketball seniors Katie Alfiere and Jen Fredericks had never beaten Torrington, heading into their senior night matchup with the Red Raiders Friday. Unfortunately for those two, they’ll graduate without ever defeating Torrington—at least in the regular season—after a 58-50 loss to the top squad in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Just like the Hawks’ previous contests against the NVL’s best, Woodland (13-6) stayed with Torrington (17-2) the entire game and held the lead several times during the first half. But the league’s leading scorer, Sarah Royals, scored a game-high 21 points, while two other Raiders hit double figures to help Torrington pull away at the end of the first half and stay ahead the rest of the way.
The turning point of the game was a 7-0 run by the Raiders to end the second quarter. After Woodland’s Kate Tuckey tied the game at 28-28 with 1:20 left, Royals engineered the spurt with four points herself, before dishing to Lauren Cilfone for a three-pointer to end the half and give Torrington a 35-28 edge.
Aiding Torrington’s success in the first half were 11 turnovers by the Hawks and strong interior defense against Alfiere and Heather Framski, who combined for only 13 points in the half.
“I just don’t think we were boxing out very well,” Woodland head coach Gail Cheney said. “We were letting Royals cut to the basket a lot so that wasn’t working for us very well. We worked on that in practice, but it didn’t work.”
Though the Hawks committed just three second-half turnovers, they could never cut Torrington’s lead to less than five. With 50 seconds left in the third quarter, Framski, who collected a team-high 16 points, knocked down a pair of free throws to make it 46-41.
Royals and the Raiders’ offense effectively stalled the game throughout the fourth quarter, taking advantage of the lack of a shot clock by holding the ball for almost a minute on several possessions to hang on for the win.
“It’s a tough loss,” Cheney said. “They’re a good team, but I think we definitely could have competed with them a little more.”
Alfiere and Fredericks, the only two of 10 original players from the class of 2010 who played for four years, ended their home careers with solid nights, netting nine points each. Alfiere’s last points came on a signature layup with 5:18 left, while Fredericks’ last bucket was a trademark jumper with 1:10 to go.
“They’re great kids,” Cheney gushed. “I’ve coached them for four years, and they’ve been here since I started, so it’s kind of hard for me to see them go, but I know wherever they go they’re going to do great.”
Those two seniors and the rest of the Hawks have more work left to do, though, as they’ll head into the NVL tournament starting Saturday at Holy Cross. Cheney said she knows her girls have the potential to win, but they have to get out of the second-half rut they’ve been in.
“We have to get the team back to where they were earlier in the season,” Cheney said. “Working hard together, coming out as a team. They know they have it, they just need to find it within themselves.”