Balanced offense has Hawks back on track

BEACON FALLS — Heather Framski scored a team-high 22 points while freshman Andrea Piccolo posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Woodland to a 69-63 win over Ansonia Tuesday night.

Woodland led, 33-19, at the half and fended off Ansonia comeback attempts early in the third and late in the fourth quarters to hold on for the team’s second win in as many days.

The Chargers (9-9) cut Woodland’s lead to 61-55 with less than 3 minutes to play, the closest the game had been since the Hawks led, 21-15, early in the second quarter.

But a runner by Lindsay Feducia (11 points) followed by a layup by Framski pushed the lead back to double digits with under 2 minutes left. The game wouldn’t get any closer than an eight-point margin until a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Melissa Tirella, who scored a game-high 32 points.

Woodland coach Gail Cheney was pleased with her team’s scoring distribution. Six players scored at least five points in the game and many of those came in the first half when Framski was limited on the offensive end.

“I think it’s key in any game to not just have one threat or two threats on the court,” Cheney said. “Every player on the court needs to be a threat. Andrea Piccolo came out and played huge tonight. You can’t ask for much more from a freshman.”

Piccolo has taken advantage of the double-teams against Framski throughout the season and is becoming a solid alternative in the low post.

“I think I’ve been doing pretty well,” Piccolo said. “Heather’s been helping me a lot and the coaches have been really supportive. I think if I just have more confidence to make my layups and foul shots then I’ll be fine.”

Besides Piccolo, Kelsey Deegan (seven points), Kate Tuckey (six), and Carli Mariotti (five) also picked up the slack in the first half. All four players scored during the runs that capped each of the first two quarters—an 11-3 streak to close out the first and a 13-4 run heading into the half.

Cheney was also impressed with the Hawks’ rebounding, which she said was lacking in the team’s two double-digit losses last week. Woodland allowed just eight offensive rebounds to Ansonia after giving up an average of 20 in its losses.

“We had a very good practice Sunday and I don’t think they really want to have that good of a practice again,” Cheney said. “They know what they need to do. It all comes down to heart. Once you get a loss, you get frustrated, but I think they’re bouncing back well.”

Framski is leading the charge after the team’s most recent slump when she scored below her average in losses to Holy Cross and Sacred Heart Academy. Between Monday’s blowout of Derby and Tuesday’s win over Ansonia, Framski has scored 55 points in her last two contests.

Framski has 1,114 points for her career and is in second place on the school’s all-time scoring list. She will have two regular-season games and at least two tournament games to surpass Jen Valente’s record of 1,157 career points.

The Hawks are battling Sacred Heart for the No. 4 seed in the Naugatuck Valley League tournament, which will start Feb. 19 at Kennedy. Piccolo thinks Woodland is flying under the radar and can make a run in the tourney.

“I think we can go pretty far,” Piccolo said. “We’ve done really well this year. We’ve had a few rough patches but I think we can do well.”