Ball’s in their court


Woodland, Naugatuck look to take advantage of opportunities

The Woodland and Naugatuck girls basketball teams are headed for states. Now, what the Hawks and Greyhounds do with their opportunities is up to them.

Woodland (8-11) is scheduled to end the regular season Thursday against Kaynor Tech. The Hawks are locked into a spot in the Class M tournament courtesy of their eight wins heading into the season finale. They were ranked 31st in Class M as of Tuesday.

Naugatuck finished the season 7-13 after falling to Wolcott, 35-26, on Tuesday. Although the Greyhounds didn’t reach the eight-win mark, a new rule that each tournament bracket has to have 32 teams means they will advance to the postseason. As of Tuesday, Naugatuck was ranked 26th in Class L.

Both squads head into the postseason struggling on offense.

Woodland has won once in the last seven games and is averaging 39.5 points per game after averaging 53 points per game in the first half of the season.

The Hawks have usually been done in by a single quarter, as evidenced by a 48-45 loss to Wolcott on Feb. 8. Woodland was behind 12-4 after the first quarter and 37-24 going into the final quarter. Suddenly the Hawks awoke from their slumber and piled 21 points on the board to nearly come back.

Woodland held an 18-15 lead against a very good Torrington (14-5) team on Monday. Then, the Hawks were outscored 18-6 in the third quarter and wound up on the losing end of a 41-36 final.

Morina Bojka had 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against Torrington. Maddie Hupprich had six points and Eliza Smith added five points.

“We have been doing the job defensively,” Woodland head coach Jess Moffo said. “We shut down Torrington’s leading scorer holding her to four points at the half. But we missed some key shots and that has been our kryptonite all year. We should have been up by ten.

“Then we had a mental lapse in the third quarter and left their best shooter open and she hit back-to-back threes. Then we missed layups and were less than 50 percent from the free throw line, and another one got away from us.”

The offensive woes continued for the Hawks on Tuesday as they dropped a 58-37 game to Seymour. Bojka (13 points) and Haley Andrews (12 points) led the way for the Hawks.

Six of the Hawks’ 11 loses have come by five points or less.

The Naugatuck girls are having their own issues putting the ball in the cylinder. They scored in the 20s in four of their last six games to end the season.

The Greyhounds fell to Watertown, 46-25, on Monday before the loss to Wolcott on Tuesday.

Molly Kennedy led the Greyhounds with 11 points versus Watertown. Kennedy and Alexis Woods each had seven points against Wolcott.

Versus Wolcott, the Greyhounds scored four points in the first, third and fourth quarters.

“You won’t beat a Little Pal team doing that,” Naugatuck head coach Ron Plasky said. “We practice hard every day for over two hours and we start to see improvement, but it doesn’t translate on the court in games.

“In the loss to Watertown on Monday we shot 7-of-46 from the floor and had three starters who didn’t score. Against Wolcott out of three starters we got two points.

“We haven’t improved since day one, and I take full responsibility for that. The weather cancelled four days last week, but no one did anything to help them get better, and it showed at Watertown.”

The ball is in the girls’ court to make the most of the postseason. The state tournaments begin late next week with qualifying rounds.