BEACON FALLS — When Naugatuck leading scorer Ryne Griesenauer picked up his second foul less than 6 minutes into last Saturday’s game at Woodland, it looked like a chance for the Hawks to take advantage and make a run.
Thanks to Naugy’s depth, that didn’t happen. And when Griesenauer returned in the third quarter, he scored eight quick points to help the Greyhounds pull away with a 64-47 win.
“We got out of one of the difficult environments of the league and executed our game plan,” Naugatuck coach Mike Wilson said. “We went deep tonight and everyone contributed. We want to make sure we’re in great condition so we can stretch things out.”
Griesenauer picked up his second foul with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter, at which point Woodland’s Eric Beutel tied the game at 11-all with a pair of free throws. With Naugy’s 6-foot-5 center out of the game, the door opened for the Hawks. Instead, Greyhounds backup big man Jour’dan Hopkins slammed it shut.
Hopkins may have only tallied four points and three rebounds, but he established a presence in the paint on both sides of the floor. He banked in a layup near the end of the first to give Naugatuck a 15-14 lead and opened the second quarter with an offensive rebound and layup to make it a 20-14 game.
“Jour’dan Hopkins came in with a lot of energy and got on the glass,” Wilson said. “We knew Woodland plays a lot of zone, and one of the hardest things to do against a zone is to rebound the basketball. Jour’dan gave us some second-chance opportunities.”
Tanner Kingsley (16 points) helped keep Woodland close throughout the quarter, but Jason Bradley (16 points) knocked down a long jumper to extend the lead to 28-18 with 3:12 to play. Naugy took a 30-21 lead into halftime.
“We fell asleep at the wheel in the beginning,” Woodland coach Tom Hunt said. “Naugatuck came ready to play and it showed.”
Griesenauer returned to the floor after the break and immediately made up for lost time. He scored on a put-back to start the half and added three more layups over the first 5 minutes of the period. Bradley also knocked down a 3-pointer and a fast-break layup to make it a 47-27 lead with 3 minutes left in the third.
“I don’t know whether he was thinking about his numbers or whether he was just mad,” Wilson joked about Griesenauer’s return. “But he didn’t come out and start forcing. He took good shots and got the team involved.”
Griesenauer finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. CJ Wall added 14 points while Maleek Brooks had five points and eight boards. Naugy held a 29-17 advantage on the glass.
“They worked the ball in well,” Hunt said. “Griesenauer made a difference coming back in, and Bradley played a heck of a game for them. Wall shot the ball well from the outside and played some great defense on Tanner.”
Beutel scored 13 points and pulled down four rebounds for the Hawks, while Austyn Brown had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The teams’ fortunes reversed Tuesday night. Naugatuck (5-4) suffered a 75-53 defeat to Sacred Heart despite Bradley’s 17 points, while Woodland (3-6) bounced back with a 70-51 win over Seymour thanks to 23 points by Kingsley.
Woodland will host No. 7-ranked Wilby on Friday before visiting Derby on Tuesday. Naugatuck will travel to St. Paul on Friday and will host Torrington on Tuesday.