By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — Sometimes, even on your worst day, effort wins out.
The Naugatuck girls basketball team saw firsthand what effort can accomplish Feb. 23 against Wolcott.
The Greyhounds trailed Wolcott the entire game until the final seconds, when Kaylee Jackson banged home a 3-pointer to give Naugy a 38-36 win.
For the second time in the first three games, the Greyhounds struggled early and trailed Wolcott 14-3 after the first quarter. The Greyhounds trimmed Wolcott’s lead slightly to 24-14 at the half.
There is one thing missing on the Naugy bench this season under first-year head coach Adam Purcaro: a towel to thrown in.
“I could have gone into the locker room at the half and yelled and screamed, but I’m all about taking a positive approach,” Purcaro said. “I didn’t need to tell them they played bad in the first half, I’m sure they knew that. I just wanted to stress that we needed to come out and continue to give an all-out effort and get back in the game one possession at a time, and they did.”
Naugy outscored the Eagles 13-7 in the third to cut the deficit to a more manageable six points heading into the final quarter.
With seven seconds left, Wolcott had the ball and a slim 36-35 lead. Jackson dove on a loose ball and came away with a steal, prompting Purcaro to call a time out. Naugy came out of the timeout with five ticks left on the clock, and Jackson (8 points) wasted no time sending the game-winning three through the cylinder to complete the comeback.
“Kaylee didn’t score a lot of points but came up huge with the game on the line,” Purcaro said. “The way we started out, I very easily could have started second guessing myself, began going deep on the bench. But we stuck with what we had, and more times than not the ball will bounce in your favor, and it did.”
Lauryn Ramalho led the Greyhounds with 12 points on the strength of three 3-pointers. Julianna Magalhaes had 11 points and Aryn Bombery chipped in six points.
The victory marked the second win in a row for the Greyhounds (2-1) after dropping their season opener.
“It was like I mentioned after the first game,” Purcaro said. “Our intensity level wasn’t there in the first quarter. We knew adversity would come and how we reacted to it would say a lot about how successful we can be.”
Naugy is scheduled to play Watertown on March 1, St. Paul March 3 and Wolcott on March 5.