WATERTOWN — After losing six seniors to graduation, Naugatuck girls head coach Jodie Ruccio’s main concern heading into this season was to hold opponents to between 35 and 40 points a game.
The team defensive goal is heading the right way but the offense is going in the opposite direction. Naugatuck fell to 0-3 on the season after dropping a tough 42-22 decision to Watertown on Monday.
In the three losses the Greyhounds have managed to continually show improvement on the defensive side of the ball allowing 72 to Torrington, 55 to Sacred Heart and then 42 to Watertown.
The reason for alarm is the fact that the offense has continued to slide as well. The Greyhounds scored 39 against Torrington, then 31 against Sacred Heart, and managed just 22 in the recent loss to Watertown.
Lauren Piroscafo, who is averaging 17.6 points a game through three games, scored a team high 15 points in the loss to Watertown. But, someone else is going to need to step up offensively to stop the roller coaster for the Greyhounds.
Renee Augustine (11 points) and Amber Kuczenski (7 points) are the only other players who have managed to score in all three games.
It appeared that the trend would be broken against the Indians as Naugatuck came out and took a quick 4-0 lead.
On the Hounds’ first possession Jessica Butler came off a screen and dished it to Piroscafo at the top of the key, whose shot rippled through the net off the window for the first bucket of the game.
On the next trip down the floor, Amy Dietz stepped around a defender and got a pass down on the baseline that Augustine took to the rack for a 4-0 advantage at the 6:31 mark.
The Greyhounds were held scoreless over the next four minutes as Watertown took over the lead.
The Greyhounds battled back, as Michelle Troschler took a pass from Stephanie Lima and got her shot to go down in traffic to end the Naugatuck drought.
Followed by a pair of made free throws by Piroscafo, Naugatuck was very much in this game, and trailed 9-8 heading into the second period.
Dietz (6 rebounds, 2 blocks) and Kuczenski (8 rebounds) were battling on the boards to keep the Greyhounds in the game.
The Naugatuck defense did its job holding Watertown to just seven points in the second period but the Greyhounds offense couldn’t get on track until the final two minutes of the period.
Kuczenski came up with a steal and got it out to Piroscafo who took it the length of the floor with 2:09 left in the half. Piroscafo added another basket on an assist from Kuczenski to cut the deficit to 16-12 at the break.
Augustine threw down the first Naugatuck basket of the third period at 4:13 left on the clock. Naugatuck went 3 of 6 at the foul line down the stretch and managed to battle back to stay in this game trailing 27-20 going into the final period.
Augustine hit a pair at the line with 6:38 left in the game to bring the Greyhounds within 8 points. But, Watertown responded with a 12-0 run, and held the Greyhounds scoreless the rest of the way for a convincing 42-22 victory.