TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School girls’ basketball returned home to the friendly confines of Willi Gym on Saturday evening for the first time in a month, resulting in the first win of the 2021 portion of the schedule.
The Lady Blazers opened 3A Southeast quadrant play on Friday with a 59-51 loss to the Wheatland Lady Bulldogs.
Wheatland scored 20 fourth quarter points, scoring the come-from-behind win.
“It was one of those, we played really well for a while and then we totally stopped thinking,” THS coach Jeff Halley said. “We stopped playing defense and started fouling. Then we turned the ball over. Then we came back and did some good things. Then we would go down and take terrible shots.”
Torrington led Wheatland by 12 in the third quarter before seeing it slip away.
“Our mental switch flipped off, and (Wheatland) made the same run as we did tonight.” Halley said.
Junior Reece Halley led Torrington with 24 points and eight rebounds, while senior Michaela Moorehouse added 14 points and six rebounds.
The next day, Torrington grabbed an early 4-1 advantage en route to a 61-51 win, snapping a three-game skid.
The Lady Blazers made an effort to get the ball into the post in the early going.
“Some teams collapse so hard on our posts that it’s usually not open, but (Burns) doesn’t like to double and stay matched up,” Halley said. “With Reece, Sierra (Allen), Tonya (Woodruff) and even (Michaela) in the paint, we have some good height advantage and some strong posts. We were able to utilize it today.”
Despite the early lead, in the second quarter, Burns used a 10-2 run to take its only lead of the day at 22-20.
With 1:59 left in the half, the THS coach called a timeout to fire up his team.
“I told them we have to be smarter. We were getting sloppy with the ball. (Burns) has a couple really good shooters you can’t leave open. We got sloppy on defense,” Halley said. “We have to maintain focus. If we lose focus, we are not good.”
The message resonated with the Lady Blazers, and Torrington scored the next 17 points, spanning into the middle stages of the third quarter.
During that stretch, THS regained the lead and pushed it to as many as 37-22.
It proved to be the largest lead of the game for the Lady Blazers, but late in the game, Burns made one more push, cutting the deficit to as few as 10 by the final horn.
Halley led Torrington with 23 points and 18 rebounds, while junior Mattie Jones added 14 points and three steals. Junior Sierra Allen added nine points and 13 rebounds, while Moorehouse had eight points.
The Lady Blazers (4-5 overall and 1-1 in the quad) return home to wrap up the first trip through the 3A Southeast Quad, hosting Rawlins (2-6 and 1-1) at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
“Our quad is wide open. Burns beat Rawlins (on Friday), and Wheatland beats us. It’s whoever shows up and does what they are supposed to,” Halley said. “I hope tonight was a confidence booster for our kids.”