BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls basketball team is accomplishing exactly what head coach Jess Moffo was hoping for when the season started. The Hawks are making noise, and a lot of it.
The Hawks ripped off their fourth straight win Tuesday in a 45-21 victory over Waterbury Career Academy.
Carla Piccolo led the Hawks (4-1) with 13 points and Morina Bojka added nine points. Maddie Hupprich and Haley Andrews added six points each with Megen Sirowich contributing four points.
“The last two years we started out 0-3 and 1-3, so to get out to a fast start has made all the difference,” Moffo said. “I credit our senior captains Carla Piccolo, Cam Caswell and Jill Chicano for their leadership.”
Woodland wanted to make some noise this season, and that noise reached a fevered pitch in the Hawks Nest Dec. 23 against Kennedy. The Hawks trailed by 10 points entering the final quarter before exploding to outscore the Eagles 28-10 in the last quarter and pull out a 64-56 win.
Bojka scored at will against Kennedy on her way to tallying 35 points. Piccolo added 19 points and the Hawks were 17 of 22 from the foul line. It was a signature win for the Hawks as they defeated the team that beat league-favorite Holy Cross in the Waterbury Jamboree.
“The intensity and the energy in the gym was something I haven’t felt in quite a while,” Moffo said. “Morina was simply outstanding. For a new player to come into a new team is hard, but the girls have made her feel like part of the team right off the bat.
“She is a special kind of player. Her and Carla were getting past the Kennedy defense and just taking it to the hoop. The girls never panicked even when we were down by ten going into the final period.”
Piccolo (14 ppg) and Bojka (13 ppg) lead the team in scoring. But it has been the depth of the team and the supporting cast of players that has put Woodland in a position to make some noise.
Hupprich is averaging seven points per game and Andrews is averaging four points per game. Jenna Pannone (3 ppg) has also scored in all five games this season.
Jen Triana, Chicano and Cam Johnson have all crashed the boards and given the Hawks an edge in the rebounding department.
“This is the strongest rebounding team that we’ve had in quite a few seasons,” Moffo said. “Pannone has the ability to keep possessions alive. In the Kennedy game we were down by six and she battled for a rebound we came down and hit a three-pointer and that was the difference in our comeback.”
Caswell, who has been out with a concussion, is back in the lineup and she is a playmaker.
Sirowich and Eliza Smith have turned in solid minutes off the bench as the Hawks have gotten stronger as the games go on. It has been strong second halves that have allowed the Hawks to put together the four-game win streak.
“We have put ourselves in a position to reach one of our goals of making the states,” Moffo said. “We have a five-game stretch that are all winnable games and if we do that we would qualify for the postseason.”
Woodland kicks off a three-game homestand Jan. 5 when the Hawks welcome Wilby to Beacon Falls. Woodland will host Kaynor Tech Jan. 6 and Derby Jan. 8.