Late rally comes up short for Hawks

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Woodland’s Shannon Meany looks for a clear passing lane Tuesday night against Seymour. LARAINE WESCHLER

BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls basketball team staged a late rally before coming up on the short end of a 42-32 final margin to Seymour Tuesday night.

The Hawks fell to 0-4 on the season in spite of putting up a season high 32 points. The game unraveled in the third period when Seymour’s Christina Cretella drained four three-pointers as the Wildcats ripped off 18 points to take a commanding 37-22 advantage.

Most teams would have instructed the driver to start the bus at that point but the Hawks battled back and made it a two-possession game with under a minute to play.

“We may be 0-4 in the league,” Woodland head coach Jess Moffo said. “But in my book these girls are 4-0 with the effort and determination they show out on the court. Teams in the league would be making a big mistake to think they are going to come in here and get an easy win.

“Our team is going to fight right down to the final buzzer,” Moffo continued. “We have seen vast improvement since day one and we are only going to get better as our confidence grows.”

Seymour jumped out to an early 7-2 lead in the opening period. Brianna Pacileo hit a baseline drive and Nicole Fowler went strong to the hoop to cut the deficit to 10-8 heading into the second period.

Woodland’s Nicole Fowler (20) drives past Seymour’s Angela Tacinelli (21) Tuesday night in Beacon Falls. The Hawks fell to the Wildcats 42-32. LARAINE WESCHLER

Eight Woodland turnovers hampered the offense in the second period as Seymour opened up a comfortable 19-8 advantage. Andrea Piccolo (16 points) threw down a bucket on the baseline as the Hawks headed to the locker room trailing 19-12 at the half.

Seymour came out and took control of the game as Cretella (19 points) dropped four three-pointers through the net during an 18-point onslaught by the Wildcats in the third period.

Woodland miscues added to the run as the Hawks turned the ball over four times in their first five possessions. Heading into the final period, the Hawks trailed 37-22.

The Hawks’ tenacity kicked in during the final eight minutes of the game as they tried to neutralize the effects of turning it over 22 times in the game.

“The problem was that we gave up three wide open shots from three-point range,” Moffo said. “We can’t let someone like Cretella take uncontested shots like that. But I give my girls all the credit they deserve. We could have folded a couple of times.”

Shannon Meany (10 rebounds, four points, three assists) was a force inside leaving Piccolo open to shoot. Carli Mariotti (eight assists, six rebounds, four points) got the offense going with a couple of no look passes down on the baseline.

On three consecutive possessions Mariotti was double teamed but showed the presence of mind to dish off to a wide open Piccolo and Woodland was back within striking distance.

With 3:06 left to play Pacileo snagged a steal and pushed it up court to Meany who threw it in off the window. Mariotti hit a baseline drive to make it a 37-32 deficit with 1:08 to go.

Seymour went on to hit three of four at the line to extend the lead and finish off a hard fought.

“We showed our true heart and character to battle back the way we did and made it a game going down the stretch,” Moffo said. “That is the kind of momentum that we can build on to turn this season around. We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Woodland plays at Derby on Thursday before finishing off the month of December playing in the Candy Cane Classic at Amity in Woodbridge on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28.