Naugy girls finding a groove, Woodland off to fast start  

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Naugatuck’s Lauryn Ramaeho (5) dribbles up the court in front of Oxford’s Madison Sastram (3) Dec. 20 at Naugatuck High School. -EMILY J. TILLEY/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

Naugatuck flipped the switch on the young season with a defensive stand.

After opening the season with a loss to Sacred Heart, the Greyhounds trailed Oxford 25-22 at halftime of their home-opener Dec. 20. Naugy came out and outscored Oxford 11-0 in the third quarter on the way to a come-from-behind, 50-40 win.

Sara Macary led Naugy with 20 points. Brielle Behuniak had 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and Hailey Russell added 11 points.

The Greyhounds made it two wins in a row with a convincing 73-34 victory over Waterbury Career Dec. 23.

Naugatuck (2-1) got right after Waterbury Career. The Greyhounds held a 24-12 lead after the first quarter, and by halftime the lead stood at 49-20.

“I feel our leadership is really stepping up and taking control,” Naugatuck head coach Gail Cheney said. “We lost a lot of experience from last year, so it’s good to see the team coming together the way it is.”

Macary again had her game going and led the Greyhounds with 16 points against Waterbury Career. Kaylee Jackson had 12 points and Behuniak added 11.

The Greyhounds have started to get significant contributions from the bench, as well. Alissa McNeil (7 points), Russell (5 points) and Nadia Cestari (5 points) helped Naugy pull away from Waterbury Career.

“We are trying to find our groove right now, and slowly but surely we are getting there,” Cheney said. “Sara has really matured, developing her game from last year to this year, but we have a very good supporting cast and together they are working well as a team.”

Naugatuck’s Alissa McNeil (14) goes up for a shot during a game against Oxford Dec. 20 at Naugatuck High School. -EMILY J. TILLEY/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

“Everyone is contributing and we are playing with a lot of heart right now,” Cheney added. “Hopefully, we can continue to play well and get the same kind of results throughout the season.”

Naugy is set to play Joel Barlow on Friday and Derby on Monday.

Woodland starts season with three wins: The Hawks improved their offensive output and their record in the process with a 62-49 win over Watertown Dec. 23.

Woodland averaged 28 points in the first two games — both wins — but scorched the nets in the second quarter against Watertown to turn a 15-10 lead after the first quarter into a commanding 36-23 advantage at halftime.

Woodland (3-0) spread the ball around. Kylie Bulinski led the way with 17 points. Jillian Barbarito scored 15 points, Gabby Mastropietro had 14 and Andra Bojka added seven points.

Woodland is set to play Kennedy on Friday and Holy Cross on Monday. The Hawks finish out next week at defending Naugatuck Valley League champion St. Paul on Friday.