Hawks one win away from tournament

Eric Beutel (40) and the Hawks need one more win in their final two games to qualify for the state tournament. –FILE PHOTO
Eric Beutel (40) and the Hawks need one more win in their final two games to qualify for the state tournament. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — There’s no shortage of themes for the Woodland boys basketball team as it enters the final week of the regular season.

Two games remain, one at home and one away. The stakes are high with the Hawks needing a win to qualify for their fourth straight state tournament — a feat that only a handful of Naugatuck Valley League schools can boast.

The Hawks (7-11) will look to build on a 55-30 victory over Seymour on Feb. 12. Austyn Brown delivered 21 points, while Tanner Kingsley added 11 in the win.
Woodland will host Derby on Thursday and will finish the season at St. Paul on Friday. Both games have plenty of meaning.

The Hawks will have a chance to avenge their 69-66 loss at Derby on Jan 23. Kingsley dropped 39 points, including six 3-pointers, in the loss.

Revenge won’t be the only emotion for Thursday night’s game against Derby. The Hawks will honor their seven seniors in its final home game.

“This will be one of the toughest senior nights ever,” Woodland head coach Tom Hunt said.

Shane Classey, Anthony D’Agnone, James Giacomazzi, Kingsley, Ken Koch, Jack Pinho and Taylor Tucciarone make up one of the largest senior classes in Hunt’s tenure. Each player has contributed to the Woodland program in a unique way.

For example, D’Agnone has been the “most improved” player, Hunt said. Classey has been a high-energy guy, while Koch’s shooting prowess has provided a lift.

Hunt said Pinho has been a four-year player for the program and has made the most out of his talent, while Tucciarone and Giacomazzi have made players better during games and in practice.

Kingsley will close out his career as the program’s all-time leading scorer and has been a four-year varsity player. His high school career includes over 100 touchdown passes and 1,000 points in basketball.

“Tanner has put in a lot of hard work over the last four years,” Hunt said. “That work not only made him the program’s leading scorer, he also leads by example every day.”

Hunt said each player on the team has helped Kingsley reach his achievements.

“Someone grabbed the rebound for Tanner and someone got the ball to Tanner,” Hunt said. “These guys have taken pride in helping Tanner be the best he can be.”

The Hawks will close out the season on Friday at St. Paul, a team that has been closely matched with Woodland since it entered the NVL several years ago. Woodland defeated St. Paul at home earlier this season.