NAUGATUCK — Thousands of people turned out for the Naugatuck Portuguese Club's 60th annual Festas de Sao Paio celebration Saturday, but no one received as much attention as Maria Fidalgo, who was honored as Mayor for the Day. "The town has been running much more efficiently," Mayor Robert A. Mezzo joked. He was joined by other politicians who said she's a shining example of Portuguese immigrants' contributions to the town. Naugatuck has one of the densest Portuguese populations of any part of the state.
WOLCOTT — Sometimes, all a team needs is a little motivating spark. For some, it’s an inspirational pregame speech. For others, it’s the ability to clinch a playoff berth or championship. For still others, it may be playing for a friend or loved one. For the Woodland girls Tuesday at Wolcott, it was the misbehavior of head coach Gail Cheney. The fourth-year coach was assessed a technical foul midway through the first quarter, after her team was charged with an uncharacteristic six fouls and called for eight travels in the first four minutes of the game. It worked. The Hawks went on a 9-0 run to end the period, following the technical, to claim a 12-11 lead and finished the half on a 26-9 streak to pull away with a 58-49 win.
BEACON FALLS — Something had to change for the Woodland boys’ basketball team. After getting out to a 4-1 start this season, the Hawks fell into a slump, dropping six straight. A couple of the losses could have gone either way, but for the most part, Woodland struggled to get it done. On Tuesday, at the Hawks’ Nest, the Woodland boys overcame a hot-shooting Wolcott team by delivering the goods with the game on the line. Wolcott shot an eerie total of 11 two-pointers, 11 three-pointers and exactly 11 free throws to rack up 66 points on the scoreboard.
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls closed out the first half of the Naugatuck Valley League season with a convincing, 67-42 win over Derby Tuesday, improving to 4-6. The Greyhounds used a potent outside shooting attack, blistering the nets with seven three-pointers. That helped them to pull away in the second period, when they hung up 21 points on the scoreboard; Derby answered with only nine. A 14-12 nail-bitter in the opening period quickly became a commanding, 35-21 advantage at the break. The Red Raiders battled back and cut their deficit to 12 in the third period. But Naugy turned it on in the final period with a 20-7 outburst to rack up its highest point total of the season.
WATERBURY — For 2 1/2 quarters, the Woodland girls looked like the same Hawks who had lost their last four games to end the regular season, trailing Ansonia, 33-21, with three minutes, 39 seconds to go in the third. But over the final 11:39 of Saturday’s Naugatuck Valley League tournament quarterfinal matchup with the Chargers at Holy Cross High School, Woodland put together its most brilliant stretch of basketball this season. The Black and Gold outscored the No. 4 seed, 31-8, thanks to a suddenly-resurgent offense and a stifling man-to-man defense to pull away with a 52-41 win.
NAUGATUCK — It hasn’t been an easy season so far for the Greyhounds, as the coaching staff continues to try to instill a total-team-effort mentality. Naugatuck (0-7) took a big hit last week when leading scorer Warren Buerkle went down with an injury in a loss to Kennedy. The Greyhounds were just showing signs of putting it together, outscoring both Holy Cross and Woodland in the second half of recent losses. Now, with Buerkle on the sideline, it was gut check time for the young Greyhounds. On Friday at the Edward Mariano Gymnasium, in front of a hometown crowd bordering on 250 fans, the Greyhounds quickly came unraveled, as Ansonia burst out to a 20-6 first period lead.
NAUGATUCK — The sky above Peter J. Foley Little League Stadium alternated between sunshine and cloudiness Sunday afternoon, a sort of organic reflection of the sentiments shared by the venerable building’s several hundred patrons. The opening ceremony of the league’s 61st season showcased both ends of the emotional spectrum: Joy in the baby-toothed smiles of ballplayers bounding across the diamond for the first time this spring, and sorrow in the wistful tears of almost everyone who knew Dustin Diver, the former borough baseball standout, who died unexpectedly in December, at age 31.
NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls’ basketball team made senior night extra special Friday by qualifying for the Class L state tournament with a 54-33 win over Wolcott in the last game of the regular season. It was a special night for the Greyhounds’ six seniors, who played the final home game of their careers and turned it into a momentous occasion. Naugatuck, 7-12 entering the contest, needed one more victory to extend its season and fought off an early deficit to come away with the W.