TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School boys’ basketball team opened the season with two come-from-behind victories at the annual Burns Winter Classic.
On Friday, the Blazers overcome a slow start, falling behind 19-12, but things only picked up from there.
“We played pretty well after that,” THS coach Neil Baker said.
Over the final three quarters of play, Torrington outscored Thermopolis 52-35.
“It was one of the better games we’ve had in my career here in terms of balanced scoring,” Baker said. “Keiser (Wolfe) had 17. Ryan (Baker) had 11. We had four guys with 10, nine, nine and eight. It was one of those games that the right guy who was open got the pass and they scored.”
The next day, the Blazers found themselves in much of the same situation.
Moorcroft jumped out to a 6-0 lead, leaving Torrington to play catchup for the remainder of the game.
“It was a struggle,” Baker said. “I just told the kids, a lot of times you play poorly and find a way to win like that, and it can be frustrating. We had a lot of opportunities, missed a lot of easy shots and had a lot of unforced turnovers.”
By the end of the first quarter Torrington had trimmed the deficit to 13-11, but Moorcroft extended its lead back to seven early in the second quarter.
The Wolves kept Torrington at bay until early in the fourth quarter when the Blazers once again cut into the visitors lead.
Torrington went back to a trap defense aiding the comeback.
“That trap worked very poorly in the first half. We weren’t rotating very well,” Baker said. “Their kids handled it really well. We’d trap it, but the third guy that was supposed to cover didn’t. They’d make a pass to a wide-open shooter, and that’s how they scored five or six baskets in the first half.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Ryan Baker tied the game at 38, and less than a minute later, THS senior Thomas Heron got a steal and drove in for a layup to give the Blazers their first lead of the game.
The score also proved to be the final points of the contest.
“We talked about handling those end of the game situations better,” Baker said. “We were trying to run some clock a couple times to get the shot we wanted, but we either took a quick shot or had a turnover. We have to sharpen that up because next week gets a little tougher.”
Wolfe led the Blazers with 12 points, while senior Aiden Hull and Baker had eight apiece.
“There is a lot to work on for sure. We are getting guys in new spots,” Baker said. “Aiden Hull is new to the team. Guys that played some last year are playing a lot this year. Guys that didn’t play any last year are playing some this year.”
On Friday, the Blazers host Worland at 7 p.m., and on Saturday, the Lyman Eagles come to town for a 1:30 p.m. contest.