TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School boys’ basketball team dug itself in a hole, complicated by 14 first-half turnovers proved to be the undoing in a 53-51 loss to the Rawlins Outlaws in a battle of top five ranked teams on Friday.
The Outlaws raced out to a 7-0 lead, but the Blazers answered to take a brief 11-9 lead with a minute left in the first quarter.
Torrington only had the lead on one additional occasion in the ballgame.
Senior Trace English knocked down a pair of free throws in the opening moments of the second quarter to give the Blazers a 13-11 advantage.
The Blazers went nearly seven minutes without a field goal.
“It wasn’t so much going cold, we had like 14 turnovers in the first half,” THS coach Neil Baker said. “We had a number of plays where we’d get a steal, we had numbers on a fast break, and we would throw it at a guy’s feet or throw it out of bounds.”
During that span Rawlins regained the lead, pushing the advantage to 19-14 before THS senior Jared Lemmon ended the dry spell.
“It was very frustrating,” Baker said. “We would do some good things and then turn around and give it right back. They are good basketball team and we don’t have a huge margin of error against someone like that.”
With the misfortunes, the Blazers felt lucky to be down only 24-18 at the half.
The teams played even through the third quarter, but in the fourth, Rawlins’ lead reached 40-29 before Torrington started its comeback.
“It would have been easy, when it was 40-29, to fold up and get beat by 15, 18, but they battled back and made them play until the buzzer,” Baker said.
Junior Sam Firminhac started the rally, but it quickly became the Bryan Lemmon show.
Trailing nine, Lemmon put the team on his back, scoring 15 of the team’s 22 points in the quarter.
“He has his moments when he is tough to handle,” Baker said. “Until that point, no one hit a shot. Our shooting percentage had to be terrible. They were good shots. Jordan (Malm) missed some wide-open looks that you would expect to go in.”
The Blazers had cut the deficit to 52-51 with less than a second remaining in the game following a Lemmon 3-pointer. Torrington fouled before Rawlins could inbounds the ball, sending the Outlaws to the free-throw line.
Rawlins went 1 of 2, and the Blazers were unable to get a shot off before the final horn sounded.
“It was the same story as the Gering game,” Baker said. “We missed a few easy shots. We have to take some responsibility and lock it in and hit those easy shots.”
Bryan Lemmon led the team with 26 points, while Malm added 11 and Jared Lemmon seven.