NAUGATUCK — Early in the season, the Naugatuck boys basketball team was putting up the defensive effort but all that hard work was not showing up on the scoreboard. Several games slipped away because of a lack of scoring but over the past week the Greyhounds have turned a few heads in the Naugatuck Valley League.
Last week, Naugatuck battled eight-time defending NVL champion Crosby in a tough 69-68 setback. The next game the offense stayed on target and ripped past Torrington, 64-50.
On Tuesday, the ‘Hounds erupted with 10 3-pointers and throttled Seymour, 67-30, improving to 4-5 on the season.
“After the loss to Pomperaug [at the end of December] we settled some things,” Naugatuck coach Mike Wilson said. “It’s really a simple game. If you pass it around and find the best available shot your offense will thrive. It also sets the tone for the defense and lately we have been getting production on both ends putting up Ws.”
In all of the Naugatuck losses this year, there has been one period that has led to its demise. On Tuesday, the Greyhounds hit the floor running and never let up.
The ‘Hounds held a distinctive, 13-7 edge on the boards in the first period and that led to a comfortable, 17-9 advantage.
Husani Foote (six points, 10 rebounds, two blocks) and Brandon Kuczenski (11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks) gave Naugy a dominating presence in the paint to help build the early lead.
That allowed Adam Nevseki (11 points, five rebounds, two blocks) and Mick Pernell (18 points, five assists) to step outside the arc and drain a pair of 3-pointers to open up a double-digit lead.
The Greyhounds continued to pour it on, dropping 20 points through the cylinder in the second period to build a commanding, 37-16 advantage at the half. Neveski nailed two 3s and Gabe Pulliam (three points, seven assists) threw down another from behind the arc as the ‘Hounds were off and running.
“We are starting to gain some confidence in what we are doing,” Wilson said. “That ends up showing in your defensive effort. The guys are starting to put this together and as a result their efforts are showing up on the scoreboard.”
Charles McClain (four rebounds), Nolan Kinne (four points, four rebounds, four steals, three assists) and Zac Mercer (four points) continued the pressure on the Wildcats.
An 18-8 third-period margin put an end to any notion of a comeback by the Wildcats led by Pernell, who blistered the net with four 3-pointers in the quarter.
That pushed the lead to 55-24 and the end was near for the Seymour. Bryan Coney (four points), Jason Bradley (two points) and Matt Bradley (two points, two assists) along with Ryne Griesenauer (one board, one block) put the finishing touches on Seymour in the 67-30 win.
Seymour was led by Alex Barton with 10 points and Brian Walker with six points and 16 rebounds.
Naugatuck will be at Woodland on Friday in the neighboring rivalry looking to make it three wins in a row. The ‘Hounds will then host Watertown, one of the league’s hottest teams, on Wednesday.