NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls basketball team put together a pair of four-game winning streaks to start the season 8-3, and no one really noticed.
The Greyhounds have ripped off six straight wins since their last loss — a 53-50 defeat at Seymour on Jan. 19 — and suddenly Naugy at 14-3 is in a place the team hasn’t been since 2004 under former head coach Keith Raczkowski.
Raczkowski guided Naugy to a 67-17 mark from 2001-2004, including a 2001 NVL championship and a semifinal appearance in Class LL in 2003.
“We can’t get too excited about any of this,” Naugy head coach Gail Cheney said. “I still say on any given night any team can beat anyone else. We continue to bring a heart and a desire to the court, and each night someone else steps up. It’s been fun, but we still have a ways to go.”
If by any given night, Cheney was talking about Tuesday, she may have a point.
Kennedy (2-13) knocked off Crosby (11-5), Ansonia (6-10) upset Seymour (11-5), and Watertown (5-10) beat Wolcott (9-6) on Tuesday as teams are jockeying for postseason position down the homestretch.
Naugatuck, which sits among the top four teams in the Naugatuck Valley League, got past Morgan last Thursday, 37-32, led by Mia Rotatori (13 points) and Alyssa Roberts (9 points).
Naugy gutted out a 40-31 win over Ansonia last Friday with the trio of Rotatori, Bridget Rosikiewicz and Hailey Deitelbaum knocking down 10 points each.
The luxury that the Greyhounds have is they are not looking for one scorer to pull them out of a tight spot.
In Tuesday’s 51-23 win over Woodland, all 12 of the players that Cheney put into the game wound up in the scoring column, because that’s the way Naugy rolls these days. It doesn’t really matter who scores just as long as they score, that has been the mentality of the team this season.
Against the Hawks, Shannon Burns and Rotatori, who has scored in double figures three straight games, each had 10 points.
Naugy got out to a 10-1 lead before Woodland hit its first basket with 1:47 left in the first quarter.
Cheney began to make wholesale changes in a lineup that is multidimensional by bringing on Alexis Woods and Roberts to crash the boards, Brielle Behiniak and Hailey Russell to provide in-your-face defense, and Alissa McNeil to run the point.
A 13-5 opening quarter lead quickly became a 29-11 advantage, and the Hawks had no way to respond once they lost their leading scorer, Eliza Smith, with a dislocated finger.
Hannah Biondo and Evelyn Diaz both scored in the second half for the Greyhounds, who pulled away for the win.
It has been the energy, passion and confidence in the girls that Cheney — who was jumping up and down on the sidelines Tuesday night — brings to the Greyhounds that has helped vault this team to a new level.
The Greyhounds will look to maintain that energy when they travel to Torrington on Friday. Naugatuck will close out the regular season next week at home against Watertown on Monday and at Wolcott on Wednesday.