NAUGATUCK — At the start of the season, Naugatuck head coach Mike Wilson sought to establish a team that shared the basketball. The Greyhounds have taken that to heart and have shown that on any given night any of a host of players can lead the way.
“This is a fun team to be around,” Wilson said. “There is no stat guy. They got a real good feel for each other out on the court and they feed off each other. If a guy comes out hot, they start feeding him the ball. It’s not rocket science. And this is a very unselfish team.”
The Greyhounds have rolled to an 8-0 start behind that selfless style. In their last three games, the Greyhounds had a different leading scorer each night.
Derrick Jagello turned on a GPS to the basket in a 79-50 win over Watertown Jan. 10. Jagello hit six 3-pointers and connected on 14 of 15 free throws to bury Watertown under an avalanche of 34 points. Keywan Garris added 11 points.
Three nights later, Robert Sanders led the Greyhounds with 16 points in a 67-49 over St. Paul. Naugatuck spread the offense around with Garris and Jagello scoring 12 points each, Avery Hinnant added 10 points and Ese Onakpoma had eight points.
The Greyhounds came out in a defensive mindset, holding St. Paul to just nine points in each of the first three quarters.
Hinnant led the way with 29 points against Wolcott Jan. 15, as the Greyhounds took their show on the road and returned home with a 71-50 win. Between the shot blocking abilities of Hinnant and his dominating rebounding presence under the boards, Wolcott never posed a threat.
“The kid (Hinnant) played hard,” Wilson said. “He’s got a good motor on him. It’s a pretty simple perspective. Play hard and good things happen. When you play hard everything just has a way of ironing themselves out.”
Naugatuck turned a 16-9 lead after the first quarter into a 39-16 halftime advantage. Jagello scored 13 points, Onakpoma had 11 points and Justin Barth added seven points.
Another strength of the ’Hounds is production off the bench. Barth, Jay Mezzo, Ryan Noble, Aiden Robertson and Tim Bristol have all contributed when their number is called.
As Naugatuck prepares for the second half of the season, Wilson said it’s important the Greyhounds stay humble.
“We have some tough games coming up,” Wilson said. “We just need to stay humble and work hard. Take it one day at a time and one game at a time. Don’t start thinking too far ahead, that will get you in trouble.”
The Greyhounds are set to play Ansonia on Wednesday, before heading to Seymour on Thursday and hosting Derby on Saturday.