Let the madness begin.
The NVL girls basketball season got underway Tuesday night as teams started as 12-week quest — weather permitting — with games piled on top of one another in search of coveted championships.
The Woodland girls got off on the right foot with a 41-29 victory at Derby. Naugatuck ran smack dab into a Sacred Heart team that new Naugatuck head coach Gail Strumpf-Cheney believes will win the NVL title, and fell, 51-23.
Woodland (1-0) burst out to a 23-11 halftime lead over Derby (0-1) and held on for the win. Junior Hana Bojka led the Hawks with 13 points.
Eliza Smith (9 points) and Haley Andrews (7 points) helped to stabilize the young Hawks down the stretch. Paige Resnick chipped in with five points, and Kate Sirowich added four points in the victory.
“Eliza and Haley did a great job calming down a lineup that had three sophomores out on the court,” Woodland head coach Jess Moffo said. “Hana had a great all-around game with ten rebounds and four assists, adding a few put-backs that gave us a double digit lead.”
“It certainly was a good way to start the season,” Moffo added. “We have some work to do and things we can get better at. We have a huge challenge coming up facing St. Paul next week.”
The Greyhounds (0-1) came into the season with some concerns about the offense. For the most part, they showed some consistency in all four quarters against Sacred Heart (1-0).
“We knew coming in that it would be a battle,” Cheney said. “Sacred Heart is an excellent team. There’s no doubt in my mind that they will win the league.”
“We didn’t have too much trouble pushing the ball up the court, but once we got there they are very athletic and were in our face creating turnovers, which led to easy baskets at the other end,” Cheney added.
Alexis Woods and Hailey Deitelbaum led the way for Naugatuck with six points each. Alyana Sosa and Bridget Rosikiewicz had four points each. Brielle Behuniak (2 points) and Evelyn Diaz (1 point) also scored for the Greyhounds.
“Obviously it can go one of two ways at this point,” Cheney said. “Hopefully we can build from this and get better. It’s hard to start out with one of the toughest teams in the league, but I think we will get there.”
Naugatuck will get a chance to rebound from the loss when they host Oxford on Friday. The Hawks will be back in action on Dec. 19 when they host St. Paul.