Naugy wins behind suffocating defense

Naugatuck senior Amber Kuczenski (24) pushes the ball up the court Monday night. Kuczenski pulled in six rebounds for the Greyhounds, who dominated the Panthers on the boards 33-22. KEN MORSE

WATERBURY — Coming into the season  Naugatuck girls basketball coach Jodie Ruccio was concerned about finding a few more options on the offensive end. For at least one game, those concerns were put on the back burner as the defense stepped up and shut down Kaynor Tech, 46-18, on Monday.

Naugatuck came away with 28 steals and created 37 turnovers by the Panthers. The Greyhounds bolted out to an 18-4 first-period advantage and never bothered to check the rearview mirror as they ran Kaynor Tech right out of its own gym.

Senior guard Lauren Piroscafo led the attack with 22 points and eight steals as the ‘Hounds improved to 2-1 on the season.

Sophomore Angelina Piccirillo flirted with a triple-double as she finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds, six steals, and two assists.

Naugatuck took off on a 10-0 run at the 5:48 mark of the opening period that broke a 2-2 deadlock. Junior Amy Dietz (six points, four rebounds) hit a baseline drive to get it started.

Piroscafo broke loose on the wing before Piccirillo hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to force a Kaynor timeout. That did little to slow down the Greyhounds as they ran the court with reckless abandon. Piroscafo came away with three steals in the run that put Naugatuck in front for good.

“We came into the season not wanting to be a one-dimensional team always looking for Lauren every time down the court,” Ruccio said. “Angelina really started to show what she can do towards the end of last season and we rely on her to get things going like she did tonight. Carli (Pellicia) is doing a good job bringing the ball up and not turning it over which stabilizes the offense.”

Kaynor was not allowed back into the game with the way senior Amber Kuczenski (six rebounds) and junior Sydney Cotto (five rebounds) crashed the boards. Naugatuck held a 33-22 advantage in the rebound department.

Naugatuck senior Carli Pellicia (32) Ds up Monday night at Kaynor Tech. The Greyhounds’ defense shut down the Panthers and created 37 turnovers in a 46-18 victory. KEN MORSE

Sophomore Emma Colucci (five steals) came away with a steal and went coast-to-coast on a drive that opened up a 25-5 advantage with 2:47 to go in the first half.

Sophomores Christina Batista and Christina Jando along with freshman Taylor Campos continued to clamp down on the Kaynor offense in the third period as the Panthers managed to put just six points on the board.

Naugatuck continued to run the floor and opened up a 40-13 advantage when junior Felicia Gullotta (four rebounds, two steals) took one down the lane for a bucket with 1:32 left in the period.

Senior Carli Pellicia (four steals) put the finishing touches on the win by hitting a shot out on the wing to make it a 46-15 lead before Ruccio sent in the bench.

“We are really getting good production from our sophomores this season and it has made a difference,” Ruccio said. “Right now we are holding our own defensively. I think our offense struggled a little in the second half. That will come but we need to show consistency on both sides of the court.”

After a home meeting with Wolcott on Wednesday, the Greyhounds will visit league powerhouse Holy Cross on Friday night before hosting Sacred Heart on Tuesday.