TORRINGTON — The Naugatuck girls’ defense played well enough to win, however it was their offense that struggled in a 38-28 loss at Torrington last Friday.
The Raiders, a 20-win team last season, held off a feisty Naugy team that kept the game close without mounting much of an offensive punch.
Despite only scoring 12 points in the first half, the Greyhounds didn’t let the Red Raiders pull away. Angelina Piccirillo scored a game-high 14 for the ‘Hounds.
“Our girls never stopped,” Naugatuck coach Jodie Ruccio said. “When we were down six, we wanted to get it to four; when we were down 10, we wanted to get it to eight. They’re trying, they’re busting their butts every play, but it just didn’t fall for us.”
Less than a minute into the second half, Megan Calabrese drilled a 3-pointer to give the Raiders a 21-12 lead. In a situation where Naugy could have folded, the girls fought back.
Piccirillo responded with a 3 of her own with 5:36 left in the third, then followed a minute later with a jumper to cut the deficit to 21-17.
Paige Middleton delivered a three-point play on the next possession for Torrington before Piccirillo went backdoor off a sideline inbounds play for her own three-point play to make it 24-20 with 3:30 to go in the third.
Caroline Teti’s layup with 3:10 to go in the third extended the Raiders lead to 26-20. Naugy’s defense held Torrington scoreless over the next four minutes, but the ‘Hounds could not capitalize on offense.
That was the recurring theme of the game.
Steph Lima, who spent about half the game on the bench in foul trouble, put back a missed shot for a layup to trim the deficit to 26-22 with 7:45 left in the game.
“Steph Lima is one of the best players in the league, but she can’t do much when she’s sitting on the bench for extended periods of time,” Ruccio said.
Ruccio noted Felicia Gullotta and Sydney Cotto, who both came off the bench to give the ‘Hounds quality minutes.
“They gave us a lift on defense,” Ruccio said of Gullotta and Cotto.
However, it was a lack of scoring that kept the Greyhounds from overtaking the Raiders. Naugy only scored six more points the rest of the game and only one basket over the final 4:50.
“Not many teams hold Torrington to 38 points, so as long as we can put points on the board, we’ll be all right,” Ruccio said.
The Greyhounds (2-1) had no trouble rippling the net in Monday’s 62-13 win over Kaynor Tech in nonconference play. Piccirillo led the way with 15 points and six steals, while Amy Dietz added 14 points and 11 rebounds and Lima tacked on 13 points.
Naugy will visit Wolcott on Wednesday before hosting Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division rival Holy Cross on Friday. They’ll visit another division rival, Sacred Heart, on Tuesday night.