NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck girls basketball team’s six-game winning streak came to a halt as the Greyhounds faced a pair of tough challenges on the road.
Naugatuck dropped back-to-back games against Watertown, 59-52, Jan. 4 and St. Paul, 53-36, last Tuesday.
Sara Macary led the Greyhounds (7-3) with 19 points against Watertown and Sarah Wisniewski had 18 points, but Naugy couldn’t shake off a three-point deficit heading into the final quarter as the Indians put the game away with a 17-13 fourth-quarter advantage.
The road only got steeper as the Greyhounds headed to Bristol to take on Naugatuck Valley League-leading St. Paul.
Naugy trailed 19-13 at the half, but St. Paul shifted into overdrive and ran the floor in the second half. A 22-16 third quarter propelled the Falcons into a double-digit lead and they put the game away with a 12-7 fourth quarter.
“We didn’t play our best today,” said Naugatuck head coach Gail Cheney after the St. Paul game. “Over the course of a season you are going to have those days. But we battled and stayed with them for most of the game until the fourth quarter.”
Turnovers played a key factor in the game. The Greyhounds turned the ball over 24 times while St. Paul only had 14 miscues.
Naugy did have the edge on the boards 19-9 through three quarters. But, with the game on the line, the Falcons outrebounded the Greyhounds 9-1 in the final quarter. Going 1-for-7 from the foul line in the first half didn’t help the Greyhounds’ cause either.
Macary kept the Greyhounds in the game with a team-high 17 points to go along with five boards and two blocks. Wisniewski added 10 points and dished four assists.
The Naugy offense never got into a flow though as the Greyhounds were held to single digits in three of the four quarters. Credit the Falcons’ two go-to players, guard Janessa Gonzalez (14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals, 4 assists) and center Jade Udoh (22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks), with keeping the pressure on Naugy.
“We talked at halftime about taking better care of the ball,” Cheney said. “We had way too many turnovers and that hurt us. We just need to put this one behind us. We definitely have the kind of team that can compete with the top teams in the league.”
Cheney said the St. Paul game will not define the Greyhounds’ season.
“We get to see Watertown and St. Paul again and we will be looking for better results,” she said. “Every game this year we had someone else stepping up and the last two games (versus Watertown and St. Paul) we haven’t had that. If we can get a few more girls to step up and provide points for us at crucial times, we will be fine. We need to go back to work in practice.”
The Greyhounds got back to work and earned 64-56 win over Wolcott last Friday. Macary led the Greyhounds with 24 points. Wisniewski added 15.
The journey doesn’t get any easier. The Greyhounds will face a surprising Ansonia team on Wednesday and head to Seymour on Friday.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated from the version published in the Jan. 17 edition of the Citizen’s News to include information from games played after press time.