WATERBURY — The Naugatuck girls basketball team suffered a tough start on the season, dropping their opening two games last week in offensive struggles against Holy Cross (59-29) and Crosby (56-38).
The 0-2 start wasn’t a sign to sound the alarm but the absence of a consistent offense began to cause some concern after averaging 33 points in two games.
The Greyhounds eased a little doubt at the start of the second week by unleashing an offense that hung a 58-22 victory at the expense of Kaynor Tech on Monday.
“We really didn’t play that bad in those first two games,” Naugatuck head coach Jodie Ruccio insisted. “We only committed 13 turnovers against Holy Cross, a very good pressing team. The problem was our shots were just not falling. We pride ourselves on converting steals into points. We came up with steals and then blew the layup down the other end. But a game like this can certainly turn a light on and we can get a little confidence going in our offense.”
Nicole Boucher, who had just four points in two games, turned on the switch early as she scored seven of the game’s first nine points. Boucher turned in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds and it was her presence that led the way to a 15-3 first period advantage.
Angelina Piccirillo got back on track, erupting for 10 second-period points and leading the Greyhounds (1-2) with 17 points while adding seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Her back-to-back 3-pointers to start the period opened up a 21-3 advantage and Naugatuck headed to the locker room in control with a 27-5 lead.
“We have been looking for Nicole to break out and have the kind of game she had tonight,” Ruccio said. “Angie came out of her slump after the Crosby game and (Jessica) Butler was going after every ball on the court.”
The bench players did not just give the starters a rest or eat up minutes; they contributed to the final outcome of the game. That allowed the starters to relax and concentrate on their own jobs without feeling they needed to do more than what was expected.
Andrea Mercer pulled down five rebounds and Sarah Hanks added four rebounds off the bench. Jackie Aronin threw down five points while Jessica Case and Alexandra Mezzo contributed buckets down the stretch.
When the third period started there was no sign of an offensive letdown as the Greyhounds scored 24 points in the period, spreading around the damage. Taylor Campos (seven points, five assists) made plays all over the court and Emma Colucci (six points, three assists) brought the ball up court through traffic.
“Emma is really maturing as a point guard and really controlled the tempo,” Ruccio said. “Taylor was everywhere playing all five positions out on the court. Our players off the bench really stepped up and made a solid contribution.”
Christina Jando pulled down boards and dished out assists, and her feed to Jessica Butler (five points) got a 3-pointer to go through the cylinder as Naugatuck went into the final period with a 51-14 advantage.
Michaela Pruchnicki and Jami Dwy continued to provide production off the bench as the Greyhounds cruised with a total team effort in the 58-22 win.
“I think a game like this will give us some confidence and hopefully we can take that momentum into our next game,” Ruccio said.
Naugy will host Derby on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and will welcome Ansonia on Friday night.