Greyhounds stay hot, face tough tests to end regular season

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NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck boys basketball started the season hot, including victories over Weaver and New Britain to win the New Britain Holiday Tournament, and the Greyhounds haven’t cooled off.

The Greyhounds ran their record to 17-0 with a stretch of resounding wins over Woodland, Wolcott and St. Paul, but things are about to get real, and fast.

The Greyhounds will face Kennedy (7-11) on Tuesday before heading to Sacred Heart (18-0), which has won 122 straight Naugatuck Valley League games, on Friday and host Crosby (12-5) Feb. 25 to end the regular season.

Naugy has a consistent offense that includes a starting lineup — Avery Hinnant (16.7 ppg.), Ese Onakpoma (14 ppg.), Robert Sanders (13 ppg.), Derrick Jagello (11.5 ppg.) and Keywan Garris (8 ppg.) — that have all averaged double figures, or close to it.

The Greyhounds have also had multiple players lead the team in scoring throughout the season.

“We are a very unselfish team,” Naugatuck head coach Mike Wilson said. “We are staying focused and taking care of business.”

The defense has caused quite a stir of late, as well. The Greyhounds gave up an average of 40 points per game in their last four games.

The Greyhounds defeated St. Paul, 63-40, Feb. 13. Hinnant led the way with 19 points.  Onakpoma added 12 points and Sanders chipped in with 10 points.

Naugy took care of business on Feb. 11 with an 89-39 win over Wolcott. Garris hit a 3-pointer from half court at the buzzer to open up a 43-22 halftime lead as the Greyhounds rolled. Onakpoma dropped 30 points. Sanders added 18 points and Hinnant chipped in with 10 points.

On Feb. 7, Hinnant led Naugatuck with 23 points in an 81-44 win over Woodland. Onakpoma scored 20 points and Jagello added 15 points.

Wilson knows the Greyhounds haven’t won anything yet, since there are games left on the schedule, but he likes how the team has come together this year.

“We got some dogs on this team,” Wilson said. “We got some dogs to push this year. The kids are playing hard and they like to play as a team, playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”