BY KEN MORSE
The Naugatuck girls basketball team got off to a 1-3 start in the second half of the season following a 5-5 first half.
Heading down the stretch, the Greyhounds (6-8 as of Feb. 3) have the ball in their court as to whether they qualify for the NVL and Class L state tournaments.
Naugatuck is scheduled to play five teams in the final six games that are ahead of it in the playoff hunt. The Hounds control their own destiny as they battle with WCA (7-7), Ansonia (6-8) and Watertown (6-8) for the final spot in the league tournament.
Naugy will face off against the Warriors on Feb. 10 in Watertown. The Greyhounds escaped with a 54-52 win in the first go-around during the fourth game of the season. This could very well be the game that decides their postseason fate, but they’ll be missing a key player.
“We lost Laniah Diaz for the season. She tore her ACL,” said Naugy coach Jon Carroll. “We feel awful for her, a tough way to have your season end. She played a huge role on our offense and hopefully we can get a few other players to step up and fill that role.”
What has been the key to their success this season is the defense that has seen them win two regulation games by a basket, and another in overtime. Not including the 72-46 setback to Holy Cross on Jan. 24, the Greyhounds have surrendered an average of just 42.5 points per game.
“Even in our loss to Holy Cross, we were only down eight in the third,” said Carroll. “We were able to compete with them. We just weren’t able to sustain it for the entire 32 minutes, but again the girls hustled. They played hard defensively and it showed as we outscored them 16-12 in the second quarter to cut into an early deficit.”
That kind of defensive play will keep you in most games and it did against Kennedy in a 42-26 win on Jan. 31.
Naugy jumped out to an 11-4 first quarter advantage and stretched the lead to 21-10 at the half. Kennedy could not get the offense started until an 11-point fourth quarter that proved too little, too late for the Eagles.
Aryn Bombery scored a game-high 23 points. Lauren Ramalho and Sophia DeFilippo chipped in with seven points each. Naugy will need to find a few more options on offense if they want to be successful in this late-season push for the playoffs.
“We had a good team win against Kennedy,” said Carroll. “We held their best scorer Niyah Brown to just eight points. Defensively the girls really responded. From night to night in this league anything can happen. Watertown just beat Wolcott (12-4 as of Feb. 2), so playing good, hard defense will always give you the opportunity to be successful.”
Indya Waller is big factor on the defensive end, especially when it comes to her rebounding ability. Sarah Redente has provided quality minutes, along with Sam Tyler, Ava DeFilippo, Amanda Jimenez and Phoebe Jagello. All of them have all contributed offensively.
Naugy was away against St. Paul to end last week. The Hounds were scheduled to host Oxford (8-6 as of Feb. 2) on Monday and Wolcott on Tuesday.
Naugy girls have postseason destiny in their own hands
BY KEN MORSE