Hawks off to strong start

Woodland’s Carla Piccolo (10) drives past Naugatuck’s Molly Kennedy (33) Dec. 18 in Beacon Falls. Woodland won the game, 41-27. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Carla Piccolo (10) drives past Naugatuck’s Molly Kennedy (33) Dec. 18 in Beacon Falls. Woodland won the game, 41-27. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — It may have gone unnoticed in the season-opening loss to defending NVL champion Torrington, but the Woodland girls had the game tied late in the third period.

What does that mean to the Hawks’ chances of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2012?

It means a lot.

Woodland is off to a strong 2-1 start after beating Oxford on Monday by a convincing 41-23 margin.

In order for Woodland to return to the postseason and actually have a chance of qualifying for the NVL season ending tournament, Oxford, which was 13-7 last year, is one of those teams that the Hawks need to get past.

They made it look easy on Monday jumping out to a 22-11 halftime lead on the strength of a 17-7 second-period burst. Woodland has shown the ability this season to score points in bunches and took a comfortable 33-16 advantage into the final period.

Maddie Hupprich scored a career-high 15 points to lead the way with Carla Piccolo delivering her usual steady 14 points for the Hawks. Morina Bojka added five points and is averaging eight points per game to provide the Hawks with another consistent scorer.

“It’s a big difference from last year to have a couple of girls we can go to to score points,” Woodland head coach Jess Moffo said. “Cam (Caswell) has been out with an injury so that is huge. We have relied on some of the girls off the bench and they have been doing a great job. Having that kind of depth really makes us a different team.”

Woodland’s Camryn Johnson (33) looks for an open teammate after pulling down a rebound as Naugatuck’s Mia Rotatori defends Dec. 18 in Beacon Falls. Woodland won the game, 41-27. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland’s Camryn Johnson (33) looks for an open teammate after pulling down a rebound as Naugatuck’s Mia Rotatori defends Dec. 18 in Beacon Falls. Woodland won the game, 41-27. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

For the first time in a long time Woodland not only has depth they have quality depth and that makes them a viable threat in the NVL. Jill Chicano, Jenna Pannone and Jen Triana are a trio in the post that can control the boards.

Haley Andrews has provided instant offense and the trio of Megen Sirowich, Eliza Smith and Cam Johnson gives the Hawks one of their most productive benches in years.

“Haley did a great job running the point with Cam being out and I’m so proud of her efforts,” Moffo said. “Carla is Carla. What can I say, she leads us every time we go out on the court. She is amazing in what she can do out there and how she can lead this team.”

The Hawks made quick work of Naugatuck Dec. 18 in a 41-27 win behind a 12-0 run in the second period.

As the season progresses, Moffo said the team needs to play relaxed and jell.

“Sometimes we try and play too quickly and that leads to turnovers,” Moffo said. “Then we have spurts like we did in the second period (against Naugatuck) where we can score points in bunches.”

Woodland will host Kennedy Wednesday at 7 p.m. and visit Waterbury Career Dec. 29.