NAUGATUCK — The goals were simple when head coach Gail Cheney took over the Naugatuck girls basketball program at the start of the season — reach the postseason and develop consistency on offense.
Cheney knew the team had a lot of potential, but no one really envisioned that the Greyhounds would head into their final game of the regular season with a sterling 16-3 record.
As far as finding some offensive consistency, five different players have lead the team in scoring in games and seven players have reached double figures.
“The girls really stepped it up and responded,” Cheney said. “Each girl that goes into the game is trying to help the team win any way they can on any given night. From game to game, I’m not sure who is going to be the one and that is what makes us so competitive.”
Naugatuck ends the regular season Wednesday on the road against Wolcott (10-8). A win over the Eagles and Naugatuck earns the No. 3 seed in the NVL tournament, which is set to start Saturday at Holy Cross High School in Waterbury with the first game tipping off at 11:30 a.m.
The Greyhounds picked up their 16th win with a 62-52 victory over Watertown (7-12) on Monday. Shannon Burns led the way with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Bridget Rosikiewicz scored 15 points for the second game in a row. Mia Rotatori knocked down 12 points and Alyana Sosa chipped in seven points.
Last Friday, Naugy beat Torrington, 48-29. The Greyhounds trailed 18-11 at the half and outscored the Raiders (5-14) 37-11 in the second half, including a decisive 22-9 fourth quarter.
Hailey Deitelbaum led the way with 17 points. Rosikiewicz took care of the low post, scoring 15 points. The dynamic duo was just about all the Greyhounds needed as the next leading scorer was Burns with seven points.
Naugatuck rotates a starting lineup of three seniors and three juniors. Sosa brings the ball up court and sets up the offense with fellow seniors Rosikiewicz and Alexis Woods crashing the boards.
Rotatori has shown the ability to bring the ball through traffic to beat the press, as Burns posts up on the perimeter to fire away from 3-point range. Deitelbaum is a slashing attacker to the basket and can also post up in the paint with a fearless approach.
Juniors Evelyn Diaz and Hannah Biondo give Naugy eight upperclassman that rarely get rattled under pressure. The Greyhounds are one of the deepest teams in the NVL with the development of sophomores Hailey Russell, Brielle Behuniak and Alissa McNeil along with freshman Alyssa Roberts.
“When someone steps it up on JV they get to play on varsity that night,” Cheney said. “We try to create a little bit of competitiveness in practice. Not the kind where people are angry about it. It just motivates everyone to play that much better to get that opportunity and that has built our depth as a team to where it is.”
“There was one game where I was looking for someone to rebound,” Cheney added. “Hannah Biondo raised her hand and said, ‘I do.’ Then she went out and did just that. When I’m looking for someone to do something in a game, I have three or four hands raised. They all want to contribute in any way they can.”