NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls basketball team may be struggling to score points early on this season, but the Greyhounds certainly have no problem putting up a strong defensive effort.
That defensive mindset was evident in a 36-32 season-opening loss to Watertown Dec. 15 when the Greyhounds held the Indians to just one point in the third period.
It was that kind of defensive performance that led Naugy to its first win of the season Monday in a 52-7 victory over Ansonia.
The Greyhounds (1-2) got right after it and held the Chargers to just one point in the first half.
The defense opened up the transition game as Molly Kennedy threw down 12 points to lead the way for Naugy.
“Molly is going to be a good player for us,” Naugatuck head coach Jodie Burns said. “She just needs a little confidence and to be believe in her abilities.”
Kennedy was followed in the scoring column by Michelle Cordova (eight points) and Nicole Boucher (seven points). Alyana Sosa and Alexis Woods each added six points.
Jackie Aronin (five points) and Andrea Mercer buried three-pointers as Naugatuck jumped out to a 27-1 halftime advantage. Alexandra Mezzo (four points), Shannon Burns (two points) and Mia Rotatori (one point) completed the scoring as the Greyhounds went into the final period holding a commanding 41-3 lead over Ansonia.
Naugatuck had a rough go of it Dec. 18 against neighboring rival Woodland. The Greyhounds fell, 41-27, and it was a lapse in offense in the second period that led to the setback.
“Our defense will keep us in games,” Burns said. “It brought us back in the Watertown game and even though our offense struggled against Woodland, we were still in that game going into the final period because of our defense.”
The Greyhounds came out of a feisty first period still within range trailing 11-6 to the Hawks. Boucher made it a one-possession game canning the first basket of the period on a pullup jumper in the lane, but that would be the last Naugy points until 53 seconds left in the period. By then Woodland took control of the game with a 12-0 run and the Greyhounds trailed 23-10 at halftime.
“We had the same trouble last year going an entire period with just two points,” Burns said. “We can’t always look for Nicole every time down the court. We had girls wide open but for some reason they are not even seeing that and just focusing on getting it to Nicole.
“We have some very good athletes and people who can score, they just need to gain some confidence and take that shot when it’s there. Mia has been playing really well off the bench for us and we have some other girls with scoring ability.”
It certainly doesn’t help the Greyhounds’ cause that injuries are again halting the improvement of the team. Naugy came into the season without post player Alyssa Peterson and is nursing injuries to Ashley Daymonde and Bridget Rosikiewicz.
“We should get Ashley and Bridget back sometime in January,” Burns said. “If we can weather the storm and come up with a few wins on the strength of our defense, when we get those players back we should be alright.”
Naugy will hit the road to play Barlow on Saturday and Wolcott on Tuesday.