Woodland boys show no quit when going gets tough
BEACON FALLS — The Woodland boys basketball team put together its best offensive effort of the early season Tuesday night, but were unable to tame the Wildcats of Wilby.
The Wildcats played above the rim on offense and a smothering full court press defense as they came into Beacon Falls and left with an 88-48 win.
“They went 14 deep on us and they didn’t let up all night. They get after you. They played well above the rim and we did a lousy job of boxing out,” Woodland head coach Tom Hunt said. “That will be one of the first things we do in our next practice because these guys know that you don’t have to be overly talented to box out.”
The Hawks (0-3) have not been flying as high as they had hoped to start the season. This is the first contest in which the Hawks have scored more than 35 points, but it came against a formidable foe in Wilby.
The Wildcats’ defense made the Hawks fight for every inch up the court, but they handled the extra pressure fairly well and were only down by eight late in the second quarter.
A run to end the half by Wilby made the score 44-28 at the break. Then, the third quarter was all Wildcats as they outscored Woodland 22-5 in the period.
“We didn’t do a lot of good things in the third period,” Hunt said.
The Wildcats scored 22 points in all four quarters and Wilby’s Darrian Grant led all scorers with 25 points on the night, most of which came on put backs.
There were positives for the Hawks, as well.
“Guys are gaining valuable varsity experience for later in the season. Freshman Zach Bedryzcuk came down in the last period, squared the shoulders, knocked down three [consecutive] 3s,” Hunt said.
Senior captain Jon Scirpo, who didn’t practice all preseason due to a wrist injury, started off the game hot. He had a hand in nine of the ten points the Hawks scored in the first quarter with seven points and one assist.
“Scirpo had to get his legs under him a little bit and he is starting to come back to last year’s form. … He is starting to find his range. We have been tinkering with him to going inside going outside, we are trying to find were the shots are going to come from on the floor,” Hunt said.
Scirpo ended up leading the Hawks with 12 points on the evening.
Senior captain Tyler Collodel played a tough game taking a handful of charges and scoring six points and as many assists.
Tuesday’s game marked the first for the Hawks of the new year. Heading into the Christmas break, Woodland fell to Kennedy 70-34 on Dec. 23. Bedryzcuk led Woodland with eight points versus the Eagles.
While the start of the season hasn’t gone as hoped against some stiff competition, Hunt knows there is no quit in his team, and that mentality will serve them well down the road.
“These guys are not going to give up. We hang our hats on playing all 32 minutes,” Hunt said.
The Hawks are scheduled to return to the court Thursday at Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy. Woodland will hit the road Friday to take on Derby.
Woodland’s toughest challenge of season will come Monday when they host Sacred Heart and Auburn-bound Mustapha Heron.
The Hawks know that they will have their hands full on Monday night but realize that their mantra will hold true regardless of their opponent.
“When we get into tighter games against some of the schools that we can compete with having that mentality that we go hard for 32 minutes is going to help these guys in those games,” said Hunt, adding, as any coach would, “but we have got to limit the turnovers, though. Those are killing us.”