Torrington girls basketball holds off Gilbert in NVL-Berkshire league contest

WINSTED – Torrington’s girls basketball team won a neighborhood battle against Gilbert 66-45 Thursday night at The Gilbert School.

“We wanted a game against tough competition to see where we stand,” said Gilbert coach Gerry Hicks, whose 7-4 Yellowjackets have just two losses in the Berkshire League.

They got what they wanted against the 8-2 Raiders, third in the NVL, just down the road from Winsted.

Both teams have bona fide stars in Torrington’s Leah Pergola (team-high 22 points) and Gilbert’s Emily Arel (game-high 29 points), but check points for the Yellowjackets showed up in the first quarter long before either star began shining on the scoreboard.

“I’m not usually one for junk defenses, but we had to play a box-and-one against (Arel),” said Torrington coach Mike Fritch. “She’s going to score, but we tried to keep it down.”

Rachel Brewer-Karimi and Brianna Murelli aligned to help hold Arel to just two points in the first quarter, seven in the second.

Meanwhile, Gilbert’s zone held Pergola to five points for the half.

Without the stars’ impact, Torrington showed off a balanced attack now experienced in playing against a zone.

Five Raiders, four seniors and a junior, used crisp, mostly-sure passing for 18 points in the first quarter, including just one three-point shot, by Amelia Boulli (10 points).

The Yellowjackets – a freshman, three sophomores (including Arel) and a senior –  needed their star to break free.

The Gilbert youngsters show great progress since the sophomores started as freshmen a year ago – especially in rebounding and defense – but managed just six points in the first quarter; 11, including Arel’s seven, in the second.

Torrington’s Haley Burger (14 points) led her team into the locker room with seven of their 16 second-quarter points.

The 34-17 halftime lead was too big to overcome, but Arel gave it a solid try with 20 second-half points, including five three-pointers.

Her 7-0 run starting the fourth quarter had Torrington’s lead down to 48-35. Soon after, Gilbert senior Kimmy McCarthy stepped up for another three to make it 50-38.

“I thought it was time to score,” grinned Torrington’s Pergola.

The senior forward reeled off the game’s next eight points, including two three’s in her 12-point final period.

By the time Arel fired off her final three, the game was out of range, 60-41, despite another three-point contribution from sophomore teammate, Emily Fedorowicz, as the clock ran down.

“We played very well,” said Torrington’s Burger.

“This experience is only going to make us better,” said Coach Hicks.

The Yellowjackets have another tough challenge Monday against Thomaston, second in the Berkshire League just ahead of Gilbert.

Torrington makes what should be an easy trip south to winless Derby Friday, then comes back Tuesday for a challenge of its own against Wolcott, second in the NVL just ahead of Torrington.  

Torrington 66, Gilbert 45

At The Gilbert School

Torrington 18 16 14 18 – 66

Gilbert 6 11 13 15 – 45

Torrington (66): Rachel Brewer-Karimi 3-3-9; Amelia Boulli 4-1-10; Julianna Latina 2-1-5; Haley Burger 6-1-14; Brianna Murelli 3-0-6; Leah Pergola 9-2-22; Totals: 27-8/12-66.

Gilbert (45): Emily Arel 10-4-29; Kimmy McCarthy 3-0-7; Alina Gutic 1-0-2; Addy Lillie 2-0-4; Emily Fedorowicz 1-0-3; Totals: 17-4/7-45.

3-point goals: T – Boulli; Burger; Pergola 2. G – Arel 5; McCarthy; Fedorowicz.

Records: Torrington 8-2. Gilbert 7-4; 5-2 Berkshire League.