BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls basketball team survived a tight first half and then turned it up a notch, pulling away with a 49-29 win over Ansonia last Friday night at home.
The combination of a strong rebounding advantage (35-26) and forcing the Chargers into 18 turnovers gave the Hawks a little breathing room as they outscored Ansonia by a wide 31-13 margin in the second half.
“At the beginning of the game we were trying to force things a little bit,” Woodland coach Jess Moffo said. “Once we started to work our offense we cut down on the turnovers and settled down. We started to hit some open shots and Carla (Piccolo) is doing a very good job for us. I thought Becky (Hale) did a great job turning up our offense. Andrea (Piccolo) just killed it on the boards. Once we started playing our game we were able to pull away. Once we picked up our defensive intensity we kept Ansonia from staying in the game.”
Ansonia battled in the opening period with Morgan Westine (11 points) leading the way and Quentesa Robinson (nine points, 11 rebounds) controlling the paint as Woodland clung to an 8-7 lead.
The Hawks offense continued to struggle in the second period as the Chargers got out to a 16-12 advantage with 1:55 to go in the half. Then the quickness of the Woodland defense kicked in.
Hale swiped a couple of steals and the Hawks converted them into baskets in the final minute of the half. Carla Piccolo (10 rebounds, six points, five assists) hit a short jumper from the corner.
Jenna Pannone (nine rebounds, seven points) hit a baseline drive and in the final seconds of the half Andrea Piccolo (12 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks) took one down the lane to give the Hawks an 18-16 edge at the break.
The Chargers weren’t done yet as they battled back to take a 24-22 lead at the 4:11 mark of the third period. That’s when Hale did what she does best and hustled after every ball up and down the floor.
Hale (12 points, five steals) came away with a couple of steals and took them the length of the floor for buckets. Cameron Caswell (10 points, five assists) showed her ability to run the offense, dishing off three assists in a 13-0 run that handed the Hawks a 35-24 lead heading into the final period.
“Cameron is the kind of player that will go all out and give you 100 percent,” Moffo said. “I said at the beginning of the year teams in the league will come to know who she is, and she is an all-out, full-speed-ahead kind of player.”
Once the Hawks had the game in control they went to work on the defensive end to contain the Chargers. After holding Ansonia to just eight points in the third period, the Woodland defense took it up another notch and allowed just five points in the final quarter.
Jenn Triana helped out on the defensive end to secure the game and also provided the last basket of an 8-0 run that turned a 41-29 lead into a 20-point margin of victory for the Hawks’ fourth win of the season.
Woodland fell to Watertown 44-21 on Tuesday night. Andrea Piccolo led the team with eight points while Hale tacked on five. The Hawks earned a 31-24 win over Seymour on senior night Wednesday. Hale scored all 12 of her points in the fourth quarter to lead the Hawks (5-14). Andrea Piccolo had eight points and 10 rebounds.
Woodland will conclude its season Tuesday at Derby.