To make the New Year happy … I’m back!
Round of applause
The Woodland girls basketball team is off to another fantastic start at a perfect 9-0 heading into an important matchup with fellow Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division contender St. Paul. Heather Framski continues to step up her game and is right near the top of the league scoring chart for the third straight year. She is nearing the 1,000-point mark and could achieve the milestone within a couple of weeks to become the third player in Woodland history to do so. Framski isn’t doing it alone, though, as Lindsay Feducia has been very effective running the offense while Kate Tuckey and Kelsey Deegan have been strong defenders. Shannon Meany, Andrea Piccolo, and Carli Mariotti have all shown the ability to score in the post, making the Hawks a tough team to defend—particularly when they get into their up-and-down game. Could this finally be the year that Woodland hangs a basketball banner?
The Woodland boys basketball team is also doing its part to put the Black and Gold in the conversation among this year’s best basketball schools. The Hawks are 5-1 and lead the NVL Brass. Woodland is on a five-game winning streak after testing Crosby in the opening game of the season. The Rountree brothers have been outstanding for the Hawks, as the combination of Yahmad and Rahmi is averaging over 30 points per game. Woodland is strong aside from the Rountrees, with tough down-low players such as Ian Bures, Ryan Angeloszek, and Sean Deegan along with freshman Tanner Kingsley coming off the bench. The Hawks will be firm favorites in the Brass if they can beat second-place St. Paul Friday in Beacon Falls.
Outstanding athletes from the fall have been honored over the last month, and we haven’t gotten a chance to recognize them yet, so now’s the time to finally do so. Both Naugatuck and Woodland were solid in just about every sport this fall, thanks to the performances of dozens of excellent athletes, many of which earned all-state honors. Naugatuck’s Tiago Martins earned All-New England, All-State, and All-NVL honors once again after another outstanding soccer season. Woodland’s Jack DeBiase was the most decorated football player, earning spots on the New Haven Register, Coaches’, and Walter Camp All-State first teams in addition to All-NVL and All-Valley honors. Aaron Echevarria and Reuban Berger both earned second-team New Haven Register recognition while Echevarria was named to the Coaches’ first team and Berger was named to the Class L team. Naugatuck’s Stephanie Santos and Woodland’s Raven Palmerie earned all-state soccer awards while Dayna Chucta and Katie-Jean Hinckley achieved spots on the Class S all-state swimming team. Dozens more made All-NVL teams, so congratulations to everyone on great seasons.
Chorus of boos
Randy Edsall was either lying or just stupid when he said he was sorry he didn’t get a chance to bid farewell to his UConn players and coaches before he bolted for the University of Maryland. I have no problem at all with Edsall making a move to Maryland, which is probably about the same caliber of a job as UConn’s (give or take). It’s closer to his home and I think both sides welcome a change. But saying he didn’t have an opportunity to tell his players personally that he was going to leave is ridiculous. Edsall didn’t need to go to Maryland right from the Fiesta Bowl, or if he felt the need to do so, he could have told everyone in the locker room after the game. Instead, many of the players found out via text messages and the Internet. Edsall has always been a respected coach, but the way in which he handled the move is questionable at best.
The Naugatuck boys basketball team and first-year coach Mike Wilson are still searching for their first win of the season after the Hounds fell, 54-45, to Ansonia on Tuesday. Naugy led, 25-22, at halftime but was outscored by 12 in the second half. Brandon Kuczenski has emerged as one of the top scorers in the Naugatuck Valley League, scoring a game-high 20 points in the losing effort. Mick Pernell added nine points while Nolan Kinne and Adam Neveski contributed four points each. The loss dropped Naugy to 0-6 on the season. But, the Hounds might be able to earn their first win in the next week as they face Derby on Friday, Torrington on Tuesday, and Sacred Heart next Friday.
The Naugatuck boys swimming team opened the Naugatuck Valley League season Tuesday by beating rival Seymour, 85-75, in Seymour. The Hounds won two of the three relays and five individual races to pull away from the Wildcats. Winners included the 200 medley relay team of Riker Mitchell, Harald Hersted, Richard Mitchell, and Dan Buckley, Chris Branco in the 200 freestyle, William Wright in the 200 IM, Kyle Conrad in the 100 butterfly, James Vaz in the 100 freestyle Hersted in the 500 freestyle, and the 200 freestyle relay team of Richard Mitchell, Eric Hanley, Jeff O’Brien, and Vaz. The Greyhounds return home Tuesday to host Woodland at 4 p.m.
Lips to CN’s ear
“A lot of guys at the next level will say with rebounding there’s technique, but then there’s just desire. And if you have the desire to go out and get those rebounds, you’re going to be the guy to get those rebounds.”
– TOM HUNT
Woodland boys basketball head coach after the Hawks’ 66-43 blowout of Sacred Heart Tuesday night in Waterbury. Woodland is off to a 5-1 start and is atop the Naugatuck Valley League Brass Division thanks in large part due to its strong rebounding effort by Yahmad Rountree, Ryan Angeloszek, Ian Bures, and others. The Hawks will open a sizeable lead at the top of the Brass standings if it can topple St. Paul Friday night in Beacon Falls.