Overtime with Kyle Brennan

Kyle Brennan

Round of Applause

The Candy Cane Classic is a very nice holiday tournament idea around these parts for a change. Unfortunately, due to the tight Naugatuck Valley League schedule and CIAC regulations on how many games a team can play during the regular season, most NVL teams can’t afford the chance to play in early-season or holiday tournaments. But Woodland, Ansonia, Oxford, and Amity found a nice way to utilize their nonleague opening for games and set up a pair of four-team tournaments for the boys and girls. Sure, it’s not a tournament the quality of the Maui Invitational, but it’s a unique opportunity to play for a tournament title and face a nonconference opponent in the process. A big thumbs-up to all the coaches and athletic directors involved in making it work.

Chocolate-covered peanut butter balls are incredibly delicious. I didn’t even know they existed before I found them at the center of the cookie tray a neighbor brought over to us. I like chocolate. I like peanut butter. Therefore, common sense would dictate that I like chocolate-covered peanut butter balls. The main reason I’m writing this is because the last time I wrote about holiday food (last fall and winter, I had a short piece on pie), I legitimately had some readers bring me pie. Here’s hoping the new year starts in similar fashion.

Word from the Woods

Girls Basketball

After starting the season 0-4, the Woodland girls have begun to turn their fortunes around with two victories sandwiched around Christmas. The Hawks earned their first win of the year last Thursday with a 56-23 win over Derby. Nicole Fowler scored a career-high 19 points to lead Woodland while Carli Mariotti had eight. Becky Hale contributed seven while Shannon Meany and Andrea Piccolo each had six and Alma Rizvani added five. In the semifinals of the Candy Cane Classic Tuesday at Amity, Woodland won its second-straight by beating Ansonia, 36-25. The Hawks held the Chargers to just 13 percent shooting and Meany scored a game-high 17 points. Mariotti added six for the Hawks, who were set to play Amity in the tournament championship on Wednesday in the final game of the calendar year. Woodland is back in action on Tuesday when it travels to Wolcott before a home game on Jan. 6 against Crosby.

Boys Swimming

The Woodland boys fell to 0-3 on the season after a 95-81 nonleague loss to Pomperaug last Thursday. Event winners for the Hawks included Andy O’Dell (200 free, 500 free), Eric Dietz (50 free), Mike Christiano (diving), Patrick O’Dell (100 fly, 100 back), Aiden Music (100 breast), and the 400 free relay team of Dietz, Andrew Cullen, and the O’Dell brothers. Woodland will enjoy the next week and a half away from dual-meet competition before resuming the Naugatuck Valley League season with a home meet against Naugatuck on Jan. 10.

Lips to CN’s Ear

“We moved Steph [Lima] off the point guard spot and she’s getting more shots. We have that second scorer now and we’re looking for a third scorer to creep in.”

Naugatuck girls basketball coach Jodie Ruccio after the Greyhounds’ 58-37 win over Wilby on Tuesday night. The victory was Naugy’s fourth of the season, surpassing last season’s total of three wins. Stephanie Lima is establishing herself as not only as a nice scoring complement to Lauren Piroscafo, but also as a player with a nose for the ball as she grabbed 11 rebounds against Wilby and 16 the game prior against Kennedy.