Raiders’ fast start too much for Hawks

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TORRINGTON — The Hawks fell behind the Red Raiders early and never caught up.

Torrington sprinted to an 11-0 lead in the first 2 ½ minutes en route to a 63-39 victory over the Woodland girls on Tuesday night. Leaving the Hawks at 3-7 overall at the season’s halfway point.

“Things came apart in the blink of an eye,” Woodland interim head coach Jess Moffo said.

Carli Mariotti and Nicole Fowler led the Hawks with 10 points each.

After picking up its third win of the season last Friday with a 51-42 win over Crosby, the Hawks’ positive momentum did not carry over to the first half Tuesday. Turnovers troubled Woodland all night.

“We have to protect the ball,” Moffo said. “A lot of it comes down to confidence, confidence, confidence.”

The Hawks have shown promise in spurts throughout the year, but ran into one of the best teams in NVL on the road. The Red Raiders used a full-court press, took advantage of their size and executed on offense.

At the half, Torrington had more than doubled Woodland on the scoreboard as the Hawks trailed 38-15.

Ali Otis scored a game-high 18 points for Torrington, and produced the team’s first four points in the paint. Once the inside game was established, the Raiders stretched Woodland’s defense with a 3-pointer from Nicole Kozlak.

Caycee Williams, several inches taller than Woodland’s post players, followed with four straight to extend Torrington’s run to 11-0. Fowler broke the run with the Hawks’ first bucket, but the Raiders kept coming.

Torrington’s press stifled Woodland’s young backcourt and led to seven first-quarter turnovers.  Otis capitalized on a turnover and scored inside to restore the lead to 11 and force a Woodland timeout with 4:41 left in the first.

The Torrington lead grew to 21-4 before a putback by Andrea Piccolo (seven points) and a Fowler layup started to chip away at the Raiders’ momentum.

Despite a 23-point deficit at the half, the Hawks refused to quit and outscored Torrington, 15-13, in the third quarter. Woodland responded to a pep talk at the half.

Fowler and Mariotti scored all of the Hawks’ points in the third. Mariotti became more aggressive in the second half and earned six free throws — and hit two to cap a notable, 7-0 run in the quarter.

“Our girls came out fired up after halftime,” Moffo said. “I couldn’t have been more proud of them. That’s what I told them after the game.”

Up next, the Hawks travel to Naugatuck on Friday for a 7 p.m. tipoff. Woodland will then continue its Copper Division stretch of the schedule when it hosts Holy Cross on Wednesday.