Slow start dooms Hawks

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BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls fell behind on Tuesday night and never recovered.

St. Paul Catholic scored the game’s first 10 points and Mekaela Giantonio made seven 3-pointers to lift the Falcons to a 51-40 victory over the Hawks. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Hawks, who fell to 8-7 overall.

Andrea Piccolo scored a team-high 21 points for Woodland, while Nicole Fowler added 10.

Woodland struggled on offense and committed 21 turnovers.

“The game is determined in how you come out to play, and we didn’t come out to play,” Woodland head coach Jess Moffo said.
A poor start doomed the Hawks. The Falcons capitalized on six first-quarter turnovers and led 17-8 at the end of the period.
“That’s our kryptonite,” Moffo said on the team’s turnovers. “We just freak with the ball sometimes.”

Kelly McMahon opened the second half with a steal and went end to end for a basket, then set up Giantonio for a three-point play to extend St. Paul’s lead to 21-6 with 6:14 left in the second.

“You’re fighting back all game, and it’s hard to do,” Moffo said.

The Hawks cut the deficit to 27-15 at the half. Then Giantonio took over the third. She scored all 15 points for St. Paul, who outscored Woodland 15-6 during the quarter.

Giantonio hit four 3-pointers in the third, including a backbreaking shot from the left corner to give St. Paul its biggest lead of the game at 42-19 with 33 seconds left in the quarter.

“She hit two 3s, then missed two or three, and most kids would never shoot again,” St. Paul head coach Joe Mone said of Giantonio. “She’s fearless. She steps in and she hits them.”

While the Hawks started slowly, they refused to go away easily. Woodland outscored St. Paul 20-9 in the fourth.

The Hawks, who have already qualified for the state tournament following their first absence from the postseason last winter, have several quality wins over teams such as Torrington (12-4) and Ansonia (10-5) and will have a chance to grab another later this week.

They will have that opportunity to get back on track this Friday at Watertown for a 7 p.m. tip. The Indians entered the week with a 14-1 record and defeated Woodland, 51-30, on Dec. 17.

“We have a lot of heart,” Moffo said. “We don’t quit. Any team can fold it in and say that’s it. We didn’t quit. If we can start off on the right foot, we’ll be good.”