Alfiere, Hawks pound Hounds

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BEACON FALLS – Led by another strong defensive performance, a routine, 21-point performance by junior Heather Framski, and a career-high 23 points by senior Katie Alfiere, the Woodland girls’ basketball team remained undefeated Saturday night with a 62-33 thumping of Naugatuck in the first game of 2010 in Beacon Falls.

Framski set the tone early for the Hawks, knocking home three layups in the first 1:58 of the game to give her team a quick, 6-0 lead. Alfiere took over for the rest of the quarter, scoring eight of Woodland’s last 10 points to notch a 16-9 advantage after one.

The second quarter was almost no different from the first, as the Hawks’ low-post duo combined to score 15 more points. Framski did most of the damage this time for Woodland, notching nine points during the period to extend the Black and Gold’s lead to 34-18 at the half. The Hawks’ defense remained strong throughout, but there were certainly a number of missed opportunities for the Hounds.

“We shot ourselves in the foot by missing layups,” Naugatuck head coach Jodie Ruccio said. “We missed 14 layups by the half. We had a tough time defending them in the post and they didn’t make it easy, but if we make even half of our layups, we’re right in the game.”

Woodland continued to pull away in the third, despite the efforts of Naugatuck senior Jessica Webber, who scored nine of her team-high 17 points in the quarter. In fact, those nine points were all Naugy managed in the period, as the Hawks once again held the Garnet and Grey to single-digit scoring in a quarter.

“We need some other girls to gain some more confidence,” Ruccio said of the team’s offensive struggles. “We need some more production out of the bench, but that’s something we’re working on and hope to get better at.”

“Defensively we did okay,” Woodland head coach Gail Cheney said. “It wasn’t our one-hundred percent effort, but we’re getting there. We still have work to do. But we played a pretty clean game. We gave our all, we boxed out well, and our turnovers were low—we only had 12, which is not bad at all for us—but there’s always room for improvement.”

Alfiere and Framski were actually afforded a bit of a rest in the latter stages of the game with a 20-plus-point lead, allowing senior Jen Fredericks to contribute eight points and junior Kelsey Deegan seven. Still, Alfiere managed nine points in the second half to finish with 23, a career-high for the senior center.

“It definitely helps,” Cheney said of having both Alfiere and Framski score at least 20 points. “I think there’s a lot of competition in the league and we just hope that we can compete with any team. We don’t think we’re better than anyone.”

Alfiere didn’t even know she reached a career-best point total until after the final buzzer. She was excited, but not just because she set a personal best.

“Coach ended up telling me at the end of the game and I was so excited because it was like, ‘I beat Heather Framski!’” Alfiere joked.

Seriously, though, Alfiere knows how important it is for her to play as well as she did in her first outing of the new decade.

“If Heather and I score 20 points a game, we can definitely beat a lot of people,” she said. “Out of two players, that’s at least 40 points, and our defense is good—no team has scored over 50 points against us yet. That way, if any other girls can step up with five or 10 points, that gives us a good chance to win.”