Hawks spreading the ball around


BEACON FALLS — Through a quarter of the high school girls basketball season, Woodland coach Jess Moffo likes one thing in particular about her team: On any given night, the Hawks might have a different leading scorer.

“Every game we’ve had someone different,” Moffo said. “Hana (Bojka) had 13 in the first game. Haley (Andrews) had 17 against Kaynor. We’re playing really good team basketball. They’re really unselfish and moving the ball around. We’re getting the ball where we want. Hopefully we keep that up.”

Woodland had two more leading scorers last week, when the Hawks split a pair of games against Ansonia and Crosby. In a 41-34 win over Ansonia on Dec. 27, sophomore Jill Barbarito netted a game-high 17 points to help Woodland break a fourth-quarter tie and emerge with the win.

“Every game she’s getting better and better, and hopefully she’ll keep it up,” Moffo said. “One of the concerns I had with losing Morina (Bojka) and Maddie (Hupprich, to graduation) was replacing their scoring. I think at this point in the year compared to last year, we’re ahead of the game scoring-wise.”

Eliza Smith took top scoring honors last Friday against Crosby with 14 points. The Bulldogs opened the game on a 9-0 run, leaving the Hawks battling from behind all game. Andrews netted 11 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, but Crosby stayed ahead in a 50-40 win.

“We shot 17 percent. It was a bad night,” Moffo said. “We couldn’t hit layups, jump shots. We shot 17 percent and went 3-for-10 from the line, so that’s not ideal. We had opportunities to get back into the game.”

Moffo attributes Woodland’s 3-2 start to the season to the leadership of Andrew and Smith, the Hawks’ senior co-captains.

“Their leadership has been amazing,” Moffo said. “They’re showing the girls what it takes. For four years, they’ve bled black and gold. They do a great job in class, in the locker room, on the floor. They’re taking those roles as captains and making the underclassmen more comfortable. Sometimes we have three sophomores on the court, so their leadership is very important.”

The area where the Hawks need the most improvement is taking care of the basketball.

“We have to limit turnovers. If we can limit turnovers and keep doing what we’re doing — we’re always going to play good defense here — we’re going to be in a lot of games. If we can make our layups and our foul shots and limit turnovers, we’re going compete with a lot of teams.”

Woodland will open Naugatuck Valley League Iron Division play against Watertown on Wednesday. The Hawks will host rival Naugatuck on Friday before hitting the road to start next week with games at Sacred Heart on Monday and Wilby on Wednesday.