‘Hounds heating up

Naugatuck’s Fejiro Onakpoma (5) goes up for a layup Tuesday night versus Woodland in Beacon Falls. Naugatuck won the game, 84-58. –LUKE MARSHALL
Naugatuck’s Fejiro Onakpoma (5) goes up for a layup Tuesday night versus Woodland in Beacon Falls. Naugatuck won the game, 84-58. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — This winter has featured a different kind of cold outside lately. But, the Naugatuck boys basketball team is getting hot at exactly the right time of the season.

The Greyhounds made it eight straight NVL wins with an 84-58 victory over Woodland Tuesday night in Beacon Falls. Jarron Chapman led Naugy (15-4) with 23 points in the win.

Naugy heads into its regular season finale versus Torrington Thursday night with a 15-2 record in the NVL. A win over Torrington (4-15) would move Naugatuck to 16-2 in the NVL and lock the Greyhounds in as the No. 2 seed in the NVL tournament.

The tournament starts Saturday at Crosby. The ‘Hounds will likely have a difficult road to claim the trophy when it is all said and done.

If the Greyhounds beat Torrington and end the regular season with a 16-2 NVL record, they will be the No. 2 seed in the tournament and likely will play either Holy Cross or St. Paul in the first round.

Holy Cross took the Greyhounds to overtime in January before Naugy pulled out the 88-82 win on the road.

As far as St. Paul is concerned, Naugy had to tough out a win in Bristol in January without their leading scorer, Jarron Chapman, who is averaging 22.6 points per game. The Greyhounds pulled away in the fourth quarter to take the 68-52 win.

If Naugy wins its quarterfinal matchup, a matchup with Crosby, the defending NVL champ, likely looms. A trip to the finals will likely mean the Greyhounds will have to take on the undefeated and number one team in the state, Sacred Heart, which handed Naugy its last NVL loss.

It will certainly be a tough tournament for the Greyhounds even with the two seed, but head coach Mike Wilson says he likes the competitive field and is looking forward to the challenge.

“We wouldn’t want it no other way,” said Wilson, excitedly.

The Greyhounds’ young coach has nothing but confidence in his players to make a run in the tournament. The reason for his confidence is what his players showed throughout the regular season, particularity their resiliency and a knack for pulling away from teams late in games to seal the victory.

“I really feel the difference this regular season is that we have showed tremendous resiliency,” said Wilson, whose team has only lost one close game in the NVL, and that was at Kennedy by a score of 57-65. “Games we have lost in the past this group has found a way to pull out the W.”

The Naugy coach looks back on the season with nothing but pride, especially in his seniors. Naugy’s seven seniors will be honored before the Torrington game Thursday for senior night. (A live broadcast of the game is available here.) Wilson says that each and every one of them deserves recognition for their contributions.

“I say it all the time that I am so proud to say that is my team,” Wilson said. “Coaching this group of kids has been an honor and a privilege.”

Wilson can look back and congratulate himself and his team on what they have done in the regular season, but he knows that they have not won anything just yet and a new season starts for them on Saturday.