BRISTOL — The fans who made the hike to Bristol Monday night expecting an excellent game between the Woodland and St. Paul girls went home sorely disappointed.
In a crucial contest for supremacy in the Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division, neither the Hawks nor the Falcons looked particularly impressive. But, St. Paul dominated the interior to cruise to a 54-33 win.
Heather Framski, who entered the game second in the NVL with a 20-points-per-game average, was limited to just 12 points—and only three field goals—while Lindsay Feducia was plagued with foul trouble early and only managed four points.
After freshman Andrea Piccolo scored Woodland’s first three points to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead with five minutes left in the first, St. Paul went on a 10-2 run to close the period with a 12-5 lead.
The Hawks’ offense was inhibited due to the early foul trouble of Feducia, in a night where the officials were wildly inconsistent toward both teams. Feducia picked up two fouls early in the first and the absence of Woodland’s second-leading scorer put the offense at a standstill.
“One half they went our way, the other half they went the other way,” Woodland coach Gail Cheney said of the officiating. “Officiating can’t win or lose games. You have to play through it.”
Woodland closed to within four points three times in the second quarter thanks to six points by Kate Tuckey, who hit a 19-footer and sank four of six free throws in the period to make it a 19-15 game late in the first half.
But a backboard-aided three pointer by Mary Joyce with two seconds left in the quarter took back the momentum and the Falcons led 22-15 at halftime.
Framski scored six points in the third quarter but St. Paul continued to build momentum with strong defense in the paint and the ability to find open baseline drives. The Falcons led, 35-23, after three.
St. Paul blew the game open in the fourth quarter and Cheney conceded defeat, pulling the starters just past the halfway point of the final period en route to a 54-33 loss.
Cheney said she was disappointed with her team’s effort and didn’t feel a 21-point loss properly reflected Woodland’s ability.
“We weren’t playing with any heart tonight,” Cheney said. “They out hustled us and we showed that they were a way superior team instead of playing with them. I think we should have been playing with them.”
After starting the season 9-0, Woodland (9-2, 6-2 Brass) has lost two straight in the division and now trails St. Paul (9-1, 6-0) in the Brass standings. More important than the effect in the standings is the fact that the Hawks have not played the same aggressive style recently that helped them to a perfect start.
“We have to use this as a turning point,” Cheney said. “Right now, we either run and hide and don’t play well for the rest of the year or we use it as a building block and we start playing our game.”
The Hawks return to Beacon Falls for a two-game homestand starting Friday when they host Kennedy followed by a visit from Wolcott on Tuesday. Framski is expected to score her 1,000th career point either Friday or Tuesday and will become the third player in school history to do so.