Naugy girls develop solid core on the court

Naugatuck’s Sara Macary (15) is fouled by Wilby’s Tayler Saunders (13) as she shoots Jan. 7 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugy girls basketball team entered the season looking to replace five seniors that graduated.

Following a loss to Sacred Heart to open the season, the Greyhounds won six straight and along the way built a solid nucleus to lead the team.

“We are working hard to get better every game,” Naugatuck head coach Gail Cheney said. “We have developed a strong starting lineup, but we also have some girls coming off the bench who are really contributing some solid minutes for us.”

The win streak was in jeopardy when Naugatuck traveled to Torrington Jan. 3. The Greyhounds needed a last-second shot in regulation from Sara Macary to send the game to overtime.

Naugy outscored Torrington 10-1 in overtime to pull out a hard-fought, 55-46 win. Macary led the Greyhounds with a game-high 25 points. Felicia Salvati had eight points and Kaylee Jackson added six points in the overtime victory.

“We went up to Torrington and they are always a tough challenge. Sara (Macary) had a great game and she scored some tough points for us. But I was proud the way the girls battled and pulled that one out.”

Naugy improved to 6-1 with a 68-31 win over Wilby Jan. 7. A dominating 23-7 first-quarter advantage quickly grew to a 41-17 halftime lead, as Naugy secured its sixth win in a row.

Naugatuck’s Lauryn Ramalho (5) looks up court after intercepting a pass on defense during a game against Wilby Jan. 7 at Naugatuck High School. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Four players hit for double figures in the victory, led by Hailey Russell’s game-high 15 points. Macary, Brielle Behuniak and Alissa McNeil each had 10 points, and Julianna Magalhaes chipped six points.

The starting unit of Macary, Behuniak, Russell, Jackson and McNeil are playing unselfish and spreading the ball around, which makes it difficult for opponents to key on any one player.

Lindsey Walsh, Lauryn Ramalho, Nadia Cestari, Kendall Allen, Magalhaes, Jourdyn Brown and Saige Winslow have all come on to score points off the bench for the Greyhounds.

Naugatuck will play Watertown on Friday. Next week, the Greyhounds will play defending Naugatuck Valley League champion St. Paul on Monday, Wolcott on Wednesday and Shepaug Valley Jan. 18 in an out-of-league game.

“We are taking this one game at a time and on any given night you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Cheney said. “This coming week we have three games, and it will be a good measuring stick to see where we are at, and anytime you play St. Paul you know it will be a battle.”