Sharpshooting carries Woodland early on

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BEACON FALLS — Just as it’s been for the first three years of his Woodland basketball career, Zach Bedryczuk’s sharpshooting has been the Hawks’ strength early in the season.

In helping his team get off to a 1-2 start in the face of a difficult opening schedule, Bedryczuk averaged 16.3 points and four 3-pointers per game against Crosby, Watertown and St. Paul.

Bedryczuk has shouldered much of the offensive load early in the season as the Hawks play without injured post player Justin Marks, who continues to recover from an injury suffered late in the football season.

“Zach has been squaring his shoulders and stroking pretty good,” Woodland coach Tom Hunt told the Republican-American. “He’s been able to get in the right spots and getting good looks. His teammates are working to get their captain and team leader the ball, and he’s knocking the shots down. Against Watertown, his teammates did a good job of finding him in transition. Against Crosby, they were able to penetrate in the paint and then kick the ball out to him. He does whatever the team needs him to do.”

Woodland earned its first victory of the season Tuesday against Watertown. Bedryczuk paced the Hawks with 21 points and fellow senior Mickey Meier added 12 as a total of 11 players registered on the score sheet. Nathaniel Smith had nine points, Nate Bodnar added nine, and Tyler Bulinski and Trey Mastropietro tallied five apiece.

That victory was sandwiched between difficult games against Crosby (a 106-59 loss Dec. 14) and St. Paul (a 79-47 defeat Thursday), two of the Naugatuck Valley League’s top teams. Bedryczuk led the way against the Bulldogs with 20 points, while Meier and Mike Szturma each netted 10. Meier (11 points) and Smith (nine points) led the scoring against the Falcons.

Woodland will face Holy Cross Friday in the team’s final game before Christmas. The Hawks will come out of the holiday to play in the Cowboy Classic at Litchfield. Their first-round game is against Oxford on Thursday, and they’ll face either Litchfield or Thomaston in the tournament finale next Saturday.