DOUGLAS – The Torrington High School boys’ basketball team went 1-1 on the weekend with a home loss to Mitchell, Neb., and a road victory over 3A East foe, Douglas.
On Friday, the Blazers suffered a 55-36 loss to the Mitchell Tigers in the team’s home opener at Willi Gym.
Torrington dug themselves an early hole and never recovered in the loss to the Tigers.
“The kids were fired up because Mitchell is really, really good,” THS coach Neil Baker said. “Then we have, maybe, a little mental breakdown when Blake and Austin Thyne, their leading two scorers weren’t there. We didn’t have near the intensity that we had (against Douglas).”
Mitchell held a 19-10 lead after one and limited the Blazers to only six second-quarter points.
“We didn’t have great effort, and the way it works for us, if we don’t have great effort, we are going to struggle.”
Trailing 33-16 at the half, the teams played even throughout the remainder of the game.
Stats were not available at press time.
The next day, Torrington turned around and held on in the closing moments in a 49-45 win on the road in Douglas.
Down 9-7 midway through the first quarter, Torrington senior Jackson Jones sparked an 8-2 spurt with a 3-pointer.
The Bearcats grabbed a brief lead early in the second quarter, but seven straight points from Jones gave the visiting Blazers back the lead, 24-20.
Torrington never trailed again for the remainder of the game.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Blazer lead reached as many 37-31 before making one last comeback attempt.
However, Douglas cut the deficit to as few as two in the closing moments of the game.
“We were just talking with the kids in the locker room, we play so many young kids and different combinations, that there is going to be nights in a super stressful environment like this that we are going to make mistakes,” Baker said. “The important thing is, we found a way to make plays, get enough free throws, Sam (Firminhac) came down with a couple big rebounds.”
The Bearcats went 1 of 2 from the free-throw line with 90 seconds to play and missed a trey with under 20 seconds left.
With under five seconds left, Jones, on his 18th birthday, sank points 17 and 18 from the charity stripe to lock up the victory for the Blazers.
Senior Sam Firminhac led the team with 20 points.
“My seniors really controlled things tonight,” Baker said. “They did a really good job of people where they needed to be for the most part. Overall, they did a really good job of getting us in the right sets.”
The Blazers now turn their attention to 3A Southeast quadrant play, hosting Wheatland on Friday and traveling to Burns on Saturday.
Friday’s game tips off at 7 p.m., and Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.