A tale of two teams

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Woodland’s Andrea Piccolo (22) sets a pick as Hannah Deegan (34) drives to the hoop in the championship game of the Candy Cane Classic Dec. 28 against Amity. Amity won the game, 44-8. –KEN MORSE

WOODBRIDGE — The Woodland girls needed a 16-2 surge in the fourth period to extend their winning streak to three games in a 45-34 victory over Ansonia last Thursday in the Candy Cane Classic at Amity High.

The Hawks took a 29-26 lead into the final period but the Chargers wrestled away the lead and took a 32-29 advantage in the first few minutes of the quarter.

That’s when Woodland answered, staging a 16-2 run to pull away with its third-straight win after an 0-3 start to the season. Hannah Deegan led the Hawks with 15 points and Andrea Piccolo came through with 14 points, while Nicole Fowler chipped in with eight and Alma Rizvani added six.

“We played the way we know how to play, especially in that fourth period,” Woodland coach Jess Moffo said. “We played our tempo and our style and didn’t get rattled when Ansonia came back on us. We pounded the ball down low and took advantage of every possession. We spread the floor and we attacked the basket.”

Woodland advanced to the championship game of the holiday tournament but was no match for the hosting Amity Spartans last Friday night.

The Spartans presented quite the challenge with four returning starters that included 6-foot junior Molly Ronan, 5-foot-11 junior Mikalia Schmitt and 5-foot-10 seniors Kristin Post and Sarah Rives.

The Hawks were at a serious height disadvantage and it showed, as Amity dominated the boards and forced 26 turnovers — including 20 steals — en route to a 44-8 beating.

“I saw two different teams in the last two games,” Moffo said. “We played our best game and our worst game in a span of two days. I don’t care if we lose by a hundred as long as we play hard. We got intimidated and played scared.”

Woodland’s Hannah Deegan looks for room to pass during the championship game of the Candy Cane Classic Dec. 28 against Amity. Amity won the game, 44-8. –KEN MORSE

Woodland trailed 9-0 and committed six turnovers in the first five minutes of the game.

“Once that happened we kind of freaked out and the game got away from us,” Moffo said. “Give Amity credit, I told the team that they were going to come out and pressure us and that’s exactly what they did.”

Woodland (3-4) finally got on the board when Piccolo scored off an inbound pass from Fowler. The Hawks trailed 11-4 at the end of the first period when Rizvani injured her ankle and had to come out of the game. That didn’t help the Hawks control possessions as two turnovers in the first 10 seconds of the second period led to 10 turnovers in the stanza.

Becky Hale and Brianna Pacileo filled in for Rizvani in the backcourt but Woodland was losing the battle on the boards.

Angeline Rosato and Abbey Rosato began to turn around that trend with a solid effort in the paint. Ashley Michie added six rebounds and the Hawks finally scored with just 47 seconds left in the half and trailed 28-6 at the break.

The one positive to come out of the game was that Woodland showed resiliency from its bench as the Hawks continued to dive for loose balls and give a solid effort in the second half.

Carla Piccolo had three rebounds and a putback while Elaine Ferretti and Liz Martin added to the defensive presence that allowed just two Amity points in the final period.

The Hawks returned to thier winning ways Wednesday night with a 52-50 win over Wolcott. Woodland will visit Crosby on Friday and host Torrington next Tuesday.