Hunt learns about Hawks during skid

BEACON FALLS — Just because the Woodland boys basketball team has run into a three-game losing streak doesn’t mean coach Tom Hunt hasn’t learned a lot about his Hawks.

Following a 3-2 start to the season, Woodland dropped three straight contests to fall to 3-5. The Hawks will  face Oxford in an attempt to break that losing skid Thursday.

Woodland had racked up three straight wins against Ansonia, Thomaston and Watertown, but the Hawks skidded during a three-game stretch against some of the Naugatuck Valley League’s better teams in Naugatuck, Wilby and Torrington.

“Naugatuck is a really good team,” Hunt said. “We were coming off some games in which we played pretty well, so I think we might have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. Wilby was another good team and we played really well. We gave ourselves a chance to win all game.”

The Hawks were tied at 43 against the Wildcats entering the fourth quarter Jan. 10 but couldn’t hang on. Justin Marks and Mickey Meier shared Woodland’s team-high with 12 points apiece, while Mike Szturma added nine, John Frasco tacked on seven, and Zach Bedryczuk and Kyle Macek contributed six apiece.

Marks, a junior, has been a particularly important piece to the puzzle that Hunt has been trying to put together.

“Justin Marks has shown great effort all year,” Hunt said. “From the point he was at the beginning of the season to the point where he is now, it’s a definite plus for us. Last year, he started at point (guard). This year, he’s had to move to the inside, but we’ve been able to use that to our advantage because he can take his man away from the hoop. He’s quick and he can handle the ball. I think he’s one guy who can offset our other guys when they’re not shooting it as well on some nights.”

Woodland followed up that close call against Wilby with perhaps its most disappointing effort of the season, an 83-38 drubbing at Torrington. Meier was the only player to reach double figures, tallying 10 points. Bedryczuk added nine points and Marks had eight.

“We went up to Torrington and we were flat,” Hunt said. “That’s going to happen a game or two during the year. In the second half, Torrington came out and started making their shots. We had a conversation at halftime regarding our effort, and I like the enthusiasm we played with in the second half. As a team, we definitely found some positives and negatives. Hopefully we’re able to build on that and turn the boat in the right direction.”

The Hawks will have some chances for victories on the horizon. After Thursday’s game against Oxford, which enters with a 1-6 record, Woodland will face a strong Waterbury Career team on the road Friday. After that, though, the Hawks will return home to face division foe Wolcott (2-6) on Tuesday.

“In this league, you’re going to take your lumps,” Hunt said. “We look to compete every night we put the uniform on, but there are going to be games where we know we need a perfect game to win, and there are games where we could not be at our best and still come out with a win. There are games when these guys come out with some swag, so we know we can compete.”