Leader of the pack

Griesenauer shows the way for Greyhounds

Naugatuck’s Ryne Griesenauer (12) is averaging 14.4 points and close to double digit rebounds per game for the Greyhounds this season. As the only senior in Naugy’s lineup, Griesenauer, a captain, is leading the way by example. –FILE PHOTO

Naugatuck’s Ryne Griesenauer (12) is averaging 14.4 points and close to double digit rebounds per game for the Greyhounds this season. As the only senior in Naugy’s lineup, Griesenauer, a captain, is leading the way by example. –FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — Ryne Griesenauer is the only senior in the Naugatuck boys basketball lineup and his presence on the court is invaluable to the success of the Greyhounds.

With 11 juniors on the roster, Naugy’s season has been marked by a team starting to come together with Griesenauer leading by example.

“Ryne’s leadership abilities go beyond the basketball court,” Naugatuck coach Mike Wilson said. “He’s an honor roll student and certainly makes my job that much easier when he’s out there on the court. He has a tremendous work ethic and relates to the rest of the team really well.”

“There was a little bit of pressure coming into the season being the only senior,” Griesenauer said. “I may not be the most talented player out there but I just try and lead by example.”

Naugatuck started the season with promise, picking up a pair of wins against Derby and Ansonia. The ‘Hounds went 3-3 over the next six games, leaving a couple of games out on the court with tough losses to Bassick (by two points in overtime) and Wilby (by six).

The true test of the Greyhounds’ mettle came during a four-game slide when Naugatuck left another game on the floor in a one-point loss to St. Paul. But the team’s chemistry and Griesenauer’s leadership helped the ‘Hounds get through the rough patch.

“I think the success I had in football really helped me out this season,” said Griesenauer, a captain who averages 14.4 points per game and close to double digits in rebounds. “In football I played every down and I take that mentality out onto the court playing every possession. A lot of guys on the team played football and we have some very good athletes on this team. We have lost a few close games and maybe we have underachieved to this point.”

Griesenauer thinks he may have been underachieving a little bit, too.

“I know I haven’t played my best game yet,” he said. “I just want to be a positive influence for the juniors because they are a very talented group. I can see the progression they are all making since the season started.”

Naugatuck got back to its winning ways with a convincing 66-42 win over Seymour last Friday. C.J. Wall led the ‘Hounds with 20 points and Dayvon Russell tallied 14 points while Griesenauer turned in an all-around game with 10 points and nine rebounds. Naugy improved to 6-6 in that game, just two wins away from a trip to the state tournament.

“It all starts with Coach Wilson,” Griesenauer said. “He’s been there and we all look up to him. He has helped me improve my game tremendously. Jason Bradley has really thrived this season learning from coach.”

The Greyhounds took a tough loss on Tuesday against Kennedy in a 56-43 setback with Griesenauer and Jordan Booker leading the way with eight points each. It was still a marked improvement from the teams’ first meeting, when Kennedy breezed to a 26-point victory.

“We still have a chance to reach our goal of making the postseason,” Griesenauer said. “Now is the time we need to step up. We need to continue to improve and win some of those games we left out on the court.”

The ‘Hounds will be back at it Monday at Wilby. They will host Sacred Heart on Thursday.

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