Hawk boys gaining experience on the court, but still want to ‘win now’

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BY KEN MORSE
CITIZEN’S NEWS
Even in victory the Woodland boys basketball team is hard pressed to win all four quarters. Throughout this season there has always been that one quarter that escaped the Hawks and led to a less than desirable outcome.
The Hawks started the season with five straight losses and then came a win over Derby. That was quickly followed by four more losses before the Hawks landed in the win column again. Still, there has not been one game when Woodland won all four quarters not even in victory. Woodland won, 79-71, over Kaynor Tech on Jan. 18, but the Panthers outscored the Hawks, 23-11, in the second quarter. Woodland used a 48-38 second half to rally for the win.
Dan Hartnett led the way with 23 points. Ethan Stepputtis had 21 points. Dean Accetura added 13, Andrew Borajkiewicz contributed nine and Jamees Scampolino tossed in eight.
“We are trying to get some of our younger kids some more minutes,” said Woodland coach Ryan Sullivan. “We have two freshmen and a sophomore that have been working hard at practice and they can help us develop some depth.
“We are still in ‘win now’ mode, but I also want to start preparing these guys for next season as well. I still feel we have a lot of winnable games left to play and believe we can still make the state tourney.”
Sullivan continued: “It won’t be easy. We know we have our work cut out for us, but we have been in every game. It’s just one quarter that has been getting away from us. If we can play four solid quarters we can start turning this around.”
The seniors Hartnett (12 ppg), Borajkiewicz (8.8), Darren Gasparri (6) and Joe Lawrence (4) have all been solid contributors. Juniors Accetura (10.4 ppg), Stepputtis (10), Mason Mastropietro (4) and Bill Untiet add to the offensive output as well.
Freshmen like Scampolino and John Napiello have teamed up with sophomores William DeLucia and Tyler DeCresenzo to provide some bench strength.
Woodland will certainly have their hands full as they play out the rest of the month. Woodland hosted Kennedy on Tuesday and is scheduled to play St. Paul at home on Jan. 27. The Hawks close the month at WCA on Jan. 31.
“We haven’t played particularly bad,” said Sullivan. “We put up close to 60 points against Crosby. They just shot unbelievable, but there again we are still faced with that dilemma of one bad quarter taking us out.
“As tough as we have had it, we still have a shot at the state tournament. The window of opportunity has grown smaller and we definitely have put some pressure on ourselves to get this done, but I believe there are still enough winnable games out there to do this.”
Sullivan continued: “We can’t just give up on the season. We have to continue to work hard. We only have two city schools remaining on our schedule. We have two outside of league games, we have some inner division games, so we still have a shot and we have to realize we need to continue to work hard to make it happen.”