BY KEN MORSE
Sometimes all it takes is a little stir of the emotions to get the fire burning again. You don’t have to be Captain Obvious to realize that the Naugy girls basketball team was playing well below expectations, dropping two games that should have ended up in the win column.
There are no guarantees in the wild world of sports, but when you are facing two teams that are in the rebuilding stage, Crosby (3-11) and Kennedy (2-9), you might expect that you would be successful in those confrontations.
Naugy was not. The Greyhounds dropped a heartbreaking 56-53 contest to Crosby on Jan. 26, and followed that up with another gutcheck in a 49-46 loss to Kennedy on Feb. 1. The losing streak reached six games and the Greyhounds fell to 4-8.
That turn of events led to a coaching change when Adam Purcaro stepped down in the midst of frustration and in what he termed constant backlash.
Fast forward to Feb. 2 against a very competitive Ansonia team (7-7) and the Greyhounds shifted gears, leaving the turmoil in the dust courtesy of a convincing 56-26 victory.
It marked the first win in almost three weeks for the beleaguered Greyhounds as they look to salvage a season that held so much promise with nine returning players, including six seniors.
“We were definitely capable of winning those games (Crosby, Kennedy),” said assistant coach Karl Evangelista. “We had the lead in both games but we as a staff need to do a better job putting our girls in position to take good shots when the game is on the line.”
Sometimes the best offense is a stern defense and Naugy came out on a mission to try and neutralize the Chargers’ leading scoring threat, JoJo Sanchez. Mission accomplished as Sanchez was held to just six points. In fact she was one of only two players that scored more than one basket in the game with Sabrina Ortega also managing just six points.
Naugy opened up a 7-2 first quarter advantage and then threw the hammer down pouring 21 points through the cylinder in the second quarter to open up a 28-9 halftime lead.
In the last two contests that ended in the loss column, Naugy relinquished the lead late in the game. There would be no repeat performance this time.
Kendall Allen led the way with 15 points and hauled away 10 rebounds. J.J. Magalhaes dropped a career-high 14 points through the cylinder and Aryn Bombery did her thing under the boards coming away with 10 points.
A 15-9 third quarter sent Naugy into the final stanza in control, 43-18, and a 13-8 fourth quarter closed out the first win in almost three weeks. The pressure has been lifted and winning has a way of healing a lot of wounds.
The Greyhounds spread the damage around with Sophia DeFilippo, Saige Winslow and Alexis Robertson all checking in with four points each. Kaylee Jackson and Phobe Jagello added two points each with Jourdyn Brown chipping in with one point.
“We do need to work on clock management late in games,” added Evangelista. “We can’t allow teams to get back in games. The girls for the most part are upbeat. The last two practices they have been working hard.
“They are staying positive and have been great to work with. They are an amazing group of kids. They are resilient, that’s for sure. We’ve had a tough season so far but they are willing to do what ever is asked of them.”
Naugy closed out the week on Saturday Feb. 5 at St. Paul. This week has the Greyhounds busy taking on Wolcott Feb. 8 and Oxford Feb. 10, with both contests on the road. The Greyhounds return home on Friday, Feb. 11 to host Watertown.
BY KEN MORSE