Hawks show heart as they learn on the fly

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WATERBURY — The overall inexperience of the Woodland girls basketball team makes winning a challenge early in the season.

The Hawks (0-4) have yet to break into the win column on the young season. The art of coaching and executing X’s and O’s is a challenge of every coach. For the Woodland girls, their lack of experience may make that mission even more difficult.

Minutes after a 61-43 loss to Crosby last Friday night, Woodland head coach Jess Moffo spoke about one positive that isn’t easily taught or performed: The Hawks played with passion for the entire way, even when it appeared out of reach to win.

“We didn’t quit,” Moffo said. “We’ve shown great resiliency and heart.”

Moffo was referring to the Hawks’ play in the fourth quarter. Woodland outscored Crosby 24-11 and forced a timeout from the Bulldogs’ bench.

During the late-game run, Woodland sophomore guard Carla Piccolo played with poise and confidence. At one point, Piccolo stole the ball and raced three-quarters of the court for an old-fashioned three-point play.

Piccolo finished with 10 points and spent a lot of time on the floor with sophomore Cameron Caswell and freshman Jen Triana, all spending their first seasons on the varsity floor. There were other notable efforts.

Woodland has relied on the steady play of senior Andrea Piccolo, who led all scorers with 20 at Crosby. In a recurring theme, she also led the Hawks in points against Sacred Heart (18) and St. Paul (15).

“Andrea has done a great job of keeping us together,” Moffo said.

Junior Becky Hale added nine points for the Hawks and has continued to improve, Moffo said.

The goal going forward will be to kick the habit of falling behind early. Woodland fell behind 36-12 at the half against Crosby.

“Obviously, the first half was tough,” Moffo said. “We’re going to go back and look at the tape and go over what needs to be fixed. We’ll get better, but we just have to do our jobs.”

In the meantime, Moffo will continue to stress that every game is winnable. The team started 0-3 last year before finishing the rest of the season over .500.

“We can compete with anyone,” Moffo said.

On Monday night, Wolcott escaped Woodland with a 39-34 win. Hale scored 14 points while Caswell and Piccolo added seven points apiece for the Hawks.
Woodland will travel to Ansonia on Thursday to face the Chargers in the annual Candy Cane Classic tournament for a 7 p.m. tip off. The consolation and final games of the tournament are Friday night. The Hawks will not play again until Jan. 3 at Naugatuck.

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