Naugy gets offense on track vs. Hawks


BEACON FALLS — Rivals in the NVL Iron Division met for the first time this season when Naugatuck travelled to Woodland last Friday night.

The game was a one-sided affair in Naugatuck’s favor. The Greyhounds led 20-13 after the first quarter and never looked back on their way to a 79-45 win.

Shane Swierbitowicz led Naugatuck (2-4, 2-3 NVL) with 31 points — the Greyhounds’ season-high. Jean Lukau Mbalandaka added 15 points for Naugatuck.

Naugatuck’s offense dominated throughout the contest, especially in the second half when the Greyhounds outscored the Hawks (0-5) 43-24.

“I was pleased with the offense in that game,” Naugatuck head coach Mike Wilson said. “A lot of unselfish basketball. We were making the right passes. We were able to find Shane underneath a lot.”

Woodland head coach Tom Hunt said his team didn’t do a good job underneath the basket, especially on the glass.

“We are going to be undersized most of the year,” Hunt said. “We need to do a better job of controlling the boards than we did against Naugy. I am not sure how many rebounds Swierbitowitcz had but I know he had 31 points, and they were all pretty close.”

After having three players score over ten points in their previous contest against Watertown, the Hawks only had one player in double digits against the Greyhounds. Zack Bedryczuk led Woodland with 16 points followed by Dylan Sender with nine.

“The shots were there,” Hunt said. “We just have to make those shots. We need to understand that we are going to be outsized most of the year, and we are going to need to win those hustle plays and be more fundamentally sound.”

As for the Greyhounds, Wilson said the win gives the team a lot of confidence to fuel a push to make the state tournament. The Greyhounds need six more wins to qualify for the state tournament and need to finish in the top eight of the NVL to make the league tournament.

The Greyhounds will play Woodland again at home later in the season, as well as two games against Watertown (2-5), Wolcott (1-5), and Torrington (2-3), all Iron Division foes. They play only three NVL teams currently with winning records the rest of the season: Crosby, Sacred Heart, and Derby.

“The schedule certainly opens for us in the second half of the year,” Wilson said. “I was even talking about it with the team before the [Woodland] game. We can make a run for the state tournament and even the NVL tournament. But it is not going to be handed to us. We got to go out and work.”

Naugatuck will host Crosby on Wednesday. The Greyhounds will visit Watertown on Friday and be back home Jan. 17 to take on Wolcott.

Woodland will visit Wilby on Wednesday. The Hawks will host Torrington on Friday and visit Oxford on Jan. 17.