TORRINGTON – A slow start was the undoing of the Torrington High School boys’ basketball team on Tuesday in a 56-50 loss to the Gering, Neb., Bulldogs.
Through the first eight minutes of the game, the Blazers connected on only one field goal, falling behind 11-2.
“When you’re down 11-2, you don’t know how these things are going to end up,” THS coach Neil Baker said. “The kids battled so hard and got it down to two.”
A minute into the second quarter, senior Jackson Jones got the Torrington back on track with his first points of the night, and it sparked a 9-2 run, cutting the deficit to two midway through the quarter.
However, as quickly as the Blazers closed the gap on Gering, the Bulldogs were able to push their lead back to double-digits by half.
“It was a frustrating night,” Baker said. “We did a quite a few things right, but every time we got close, we’d have one mistake against us that would take us from down two to four or five.”
Torrington made another run in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to three heading into the final eight minutes of play.
In the fourth quarter, Torrington had an opportunity to take a lead late in the game, but Gering outrebounded the Blazers on three straight missed free throws as the Bulldogs pushed its lead back to six by the final horn.
“We didn’t rebound real well at either end of the floor in the first half,” Baker said. “It was better in the second half. It might not have been enough to finish it off, but we had those three free throws in a row they missed and couldn’t come down with a rebound.”
Jones led the Blazers with 19 points, while senior Sam Firminhac added 18.
The Gering win marked the return of 2003 Torrington High School graduate Kyle Cotton, who is in his first year leading the Bulldog program.
“It was kind of nostalgic coming back here. It brings back a lot of good memories,” he said. “I poured my heart and soul out for this community and team. For our kids to do the same thing for me and our town, it brought back a lot of good memories.”
The Blazers are back at home against Rawlins on Friday at 5:30 p.m.