Hawks battle but knocked from tourney

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OAKDALE — One of the best seasons in school history ended Tuesday night for the Woodland girls’ basketball team in the first round of the Class M state tournament. The Hawks battled back from a 10-point first-quarter deficit but fell one bucket short, losing to No. 16-seed Montville, 56-54.

Junior forward Heather Framski turned in a trademark solid performance, scoring a game-high 22 points, but no other Woodland player reached double figures to help push the 17th-seeded Hawks over the top.

Woodland knew little about the Indians before making the 90-plus-minute drive east, but the game plan was simple for the Hawks—win the battle in the paint and handle the ball well.

Heather Framski, pictured on the receiving end of a Lindsay Feducia pass during the NVL tournament, scored 22 points against Montville Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Hawks over the Indians.
Heather Framski, pictured on the receiving end of a Lindsay Feducia pass during the NVL tournament, scored 22 points against Montville Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Hawks over the Indians.

“We didn’t know too much about them,” Framski said. “We knew that, to win, we needed to box out and not turn the ball over.”

Out of the gates, though, Woodland played sluggishly and sloppily and quickly found itself in a 10-point hole after the first eight minutes.

“We weren’t playing our game,” Framski noted. “We were taking outside shots and trying to force things that weren’t there. We got them into foul trouble, but we didn’t use that to our advantage.”

The Hawks chipped away at the deficit the rest of the way, helped by nine points from senior center Katie Alfiere, eight by sophomore forward Carli Mariotti, and seven by junior guard Lindsay Feducia. Senior forward Jen Fredericks contributed four points in the last game of her career, while junior guards Kelsey Deegan and Kate Tuckey notched two points each.

Woodland closed the halftime lead to 25-17 before making it 34-28 heading into the fourth. Despite almost doubling its game production in the final quarter, Montville kept its nose just in front until the final buzzer.

The Indians used six three-pointers—four by Steph Jones and two by Alex Kinder—to maintain their lead throughout the game. Both Jones and Kinder scored 17 points for Montville (15-8), which will travel to top-seeded Brookfield (17-3) Friday night.

Though the Hawks (14-9) ended their season prematurely by their standard, they still tied the school record with 14 wins and reached the Naugatuck Valley League tournament semifinals last week, a school-best performance.

“I think the season was pretty successful,” Framski said. “There were games that we should have won, but this season was great. Next year, we will miss Katie and Jen. They’ve done so much for the team. It won’t be the same without them.”