BEACON FALLS — Woodland used a 24-point third quarter to open up a double-digit lead, watched its advantage shrink to three with less than a minute to play, then hit some high-pressure free throws to stave off Watertown, 62-54, Friday.
With the Hawks up 10 with 1:38 remaining in the game, the Indians’ dervish of a point guard, Jess Spezzano, drove the lane and missed a layup, but Woodland’s Katie Alfiere was whistled for a foul. Black and Gold head coach Gail Cheney objected and was called for a technical foul, her second in as many contests.
The T gave Spezzano a total of four free throws, of which she made three, and returned possession to the Indians. Spezzano, who scored 12 of her team-high 19 points in the second half, lofted a floater in the lane to cut her team’s deficit to five.
Woodland (12-3) turned over the ball on its ensuing possession, when Alfiere was unable to chase down an errant pass, and Watertown (4-11) struck again. Spezzano inbounded to Amanda Bugnacki around midcourt, she relayed to a wide-open Jaime Zoldy for a quick deuce, and a game that moments before appeared to be in hand was suddenly in doubt, the Hawks clinging to a three-point edge with 44 seconds left.
Woodland ran 17 seconds off the clock before Maggie Collier fouled Lindsay Feducia to start a free throw parade. Feducia and Kelsey Deegan combined to hit six straight at the stripe and seal the victory.
The Hawks led, 25-20, at halftime and appeared to seize control of the game with a hot start after the break. Heather Framski, who was held to 10 points in last Tuesday’s win at Wolcott, matched that total in the third quarter alone and finished with 21. Woodland’s lead hovered around a dozen, even when Spezzano and company discovered their stroke. The squads that combined for 45 points in the first two periods scored 44 in the third.
Feducia led the way early in the evening, pouring in 10 of her 18 points in the first quarter, before passing the offensive baton to Framski. Jen Fredericks had another solid outing, adding 13. Woodland’s well-rounded attack proved the difference in the game—Spezzano had no teammate in double figures to back her up.
The Hawks sit in fourth place in the Naugatuck Valley League with five games left on the schedule, including meetings with the three teams ahead of them in the standings, Holy Cross, Torrington and St. Paul Catholic.