WATERBURY — The Naugatuck girls basketball knows one thing for sure: It will finish this season with more wins than all of last year.
The Greyhounds used a 20-2 third-quarter run to defeat Wilby, 58-37, on Tuesday night. With the victory, Naugy improved to 4-4 and took one more step to put last year’s 3-17 record firmly in the past.
Stephanie Lima notched her second-straight double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Lauren Piroscafo added a game-high 29 points.
After the game, Naugy head coach Jodie Ruccio praised Lima for transitioning from the point guard position to give the team another scoring threat after Piroscafo. Lima had 23 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in a 59-47 win over Kennedy last Friday.
“We moved Steph off the point guard spot and she’s getting more shots,” Ruccio said. “We have that second scorer now and we’re looking for a third scorer to creep in.”
Lima ignited the game-changing rally in the third quarter. She took the ball at midcourt, drove to the hoop, scored and drew a foul to give Naugy a 27-23 lead with 5:56 left in the period. On Naugy’s next possession, Lima put back a missed shot to increase Naugy’s edge to 29-23.
The Greyhounds’ spurt was capped by a running jumper by Lima and a Piroscafo 3-pointer from the right side of the arc. Naugy finished the quarter with a 44-25 advantage.
One thing in particular stood out about Naugatuck’s game-clinching third-quarter effort.
“Our defense was a lot better,” Piroscafo said. “We attacked more.”
The Greyhounds’ pressure led to eight Wilby turnovers and more Naugy offensive opportunities to help the Garnet and Grey pull away.
In the first half, Wilby executed better on offense. Tatiana Harge scored a bucket and was fouled. She completed the three-point play to give Wilby a 15-14 lead with seven minutes left in the second quarter.
“Every time Harge touched the ball, good things were happening,” said Ruccio, who credited Ang Piccirillo for bringing defensive intensity in the second half.
The deficit grew to 17-14 before Felicia Gullotta scored off an offensive rebound, and on the following possession, Piroscafo drained a 3-pointer to give Naugy a 19-17 lead.
The first half showed that despite the win, there’s still room for improvement.
“We have to get better in all areas,” Ruccio said. “Having said that, we found another scorer and a go-to defender.”
Up next, Naugy hosts Crosby on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. and travels to Torrington on Jan. 6.