Hawks edge Eagles in OT

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One win away from state tourney

WATERBURY — Ryan Angeloszek scored a game-high 26 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime, to lead Woodland to a 63-55 victory over Kennedy on Tuesday night.

Woodland improved to 7-6 on the season, while Kennedy fell to 5-7.

After racing out to a 16-point lead late in the first half, the Hawks held off the upstart Eagles in a tale of two halves. While Angelosek led the team in scoring, it took multiple big plays from several players to win the game.

It culminated in overtime with Billy Alfiere (16 points, six rebounds), who drew a foul and made one of two free throws 17 seconds into the extra session. On their next possession, the Hawks’ David Uhl scored in transition to give the Hawks a 55-52 lead.

Kennedy’s Gabriel Cabrera hit his third and final 3-pointer of the game to tie it at 55 with 2:24 left. Then Angeloszek provided the difference.

Angeloszek received the ball on the low block, created space, then sped along the baseline to score a bucket, draw a foul and break the deadlock with 2:11 left. He hit the ensuing free throw to give Woodland a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“We have a number of players who are willing to step up,” Woodland coach Tom Hunt said.

Woodland needed every boost it could get, especially in the second half when a 16-point lead evaporated and Kennedy grabbed a one-point edge with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter. David Alves and Tanner Kingsley offered the response for Woodland.

Down 48-47 with 2 ½ minutes left, Alves grabbed an offensive rebound off an Angeloszek miss and scored. On the next possession, Kingsley (11 points, six steals) drained a 3 from the left arc to give Woodland a 52-48 lead with 1:40 remaining.

“David is a very physical player and Tanner hits big shots every game,” Angeloszek said.

Cabrera and Cyrise Davis scored back-to-back baskets for Kennedy to tie the game.

Alfiere missed two free throws with 12.9 seconds left — either would have broken the tie.  Kennedy missed two shots as time expired in regulation to send the game to overtime.

Once back in the huddle prior to overtime, Alfiere didn’t sulk. He showed leadership.

“As a senior captain on this team, Billy never put his head down,” Hunt said. “He got right back into the huddle and said. ‘We’re going to win this.’”

Alfiere put Woodland on the board first in overtime, produced two steals and two rebounds in the extra session and provided the spark the Hawks needed in OT. His efforts helped the Hawks find the same spark they showed in the first half.

Woodland used stingy defense and controlled the glass to dominate the first 16 minutes of the game. Kennedy received few second-chance opportunities and the Hawks used crisp ball movement to set up shots.

In the second quarter, Woodland scored the first 13 points and didn’t allow a basket for the first 4:50. Angeloszek scored the team’s first eight of the quarter in a variety of ways — under the hoop, in the lane and with a mid-range jumper.

Kennedy regained momentum in the third quarter and most of the fourth and wiped out a 14-point halftime deficit.

“We played the defense we wanted to play in the first half,” Hunt said. “We let them adjust and we didn’t adjust with them.”

The Hawks kept their composure and now stand one win away from a program-record third straight state tournament berth. Angelozsek credited the Hawks’ approach.

“We’re showing a lot of chemistry,” Angeloszek said. “We work together as a team.”

The Hawks travel to Wilby this Friday and host St. Paul on Monday.