Round of Applause
The Naugatuck High gym has a fresh look, even as its planned renovation nears. Athletic director Tom Pompei has taken strides to clean up and jazz up the gym as much as possible before the exciting overhaul. On one wall, the rosters of both varsity basketball teams are listed with names and numbers, so fans (and media) have no excuse for not knowing who’s wearing Garnet and Grey on the floor. On another wall, a sharp banner lists all 14 teams in the Naugatuck Valley League with school colors and nicknames (identical to the attractive piece at Woodland after Pompei saw it and said, “We need to have that”). Finally, all the old championship banners have been cleaned and hung again with some sense of order. The new look is enough to whet your whistle for the upcoming renovations, which will completely revamp the gym and make it brand new. Heck, I’m excited, and I don’t even live in Naugatuck.
The potential sporting facility that may be constructed in Beacon Falls would be such a phenomenal idea. In case you skipped over the story, a group of investors is interested in purchasing property in the Pinesbridge Industrial Park and using it (about 12 acres) to build a fancy multi-purpose sporting facility. Apparently, it could be very similar to Sports Center of Connecticut in Shelton, which has everything from mini golf to a driving range to batting cages to bowling to ice hockey rinks. How cool would that be? Folks are looking for a way to drive more business and activity in Beacon Falls, and few things would be better for doing so than having a new sports haven. We’ll be sure to follow up on this as developments happen because this is just a flat-out awesome idea with something for everybody.
Naugatuck-Woodland boys basketball games always seem to be excellent contests. For the second year in a row, the game was decided by a late basket. This time, though, it was Naugatuck that came out on top thanks to a buzzer-beating 10-footer by Husani Foote off an inbounds pass with just one second to play. Foote’s shot came as the Greyhounds had just about no momentum after losing a 14-point lead they held with seven minutes to play. But Woodland’s Ryan Angeloszek, Billy Alfiere, and Tanner Kingsley helped rally the Hawks to tie the game with just seconds remaining. The Greyhounds and Hawks might not be the two flashiest teams in the league, but they have shown this year that they are capable of gritting out a physical game with anybody in the Valley or the city.
The San Francisco 49ers are who I’ll be rooting for during the remainder of the NFL playoffs (I made my decision in the first quarter of their thrilling NFC Divisional win over New Orleans on Saturday). This decision has been made for a number of reasons. First, I cannot root for the Patriots. EVER. I don’t care if they were playing the Yankees. I’d root for Derek Jeter before I rooted for Tom Brady. Anyway, I also can’t root for the Giants. There must be more bandwagon Giants fans than any other team besides the Yankees and the Lakers. Tweets and Facebook posts concerning the Giants during playoff season multiply like children in a 17th-century Puritan household. It’s ridiculous. Besides, I’m mad at Tom Coughlin for his face not turning the hot-burner shade of red on Sunday in Green Bay that we all so fondly remember in the 2008 NFC Championship. Finally, I am not rooting for the Ravens. Joe Flacco is goofy. He looks like one of my high school science teachers (hey, Mr. Figgles!) and that mustache of his is really dividing my opinion. On one hand, I think it shows that he just doesn’t care about anybody, but on the other hand, I think it shows that he wants to make a movie with some lady named Pumpkin Spice. Yeah, I went there. So let’s go Alex Smith (who couldn’t like a quarterback from Utah?)!
Chorus of Boos
The internet blacklist legislation proposed in Congress — popularly known and PIPA and SOPA — are totally ridiculous. I don’t know exactly who is responsible for actually giving this legislation any support or momentum (besides Hollywood and entertainment companies), but those people clearly have no idea how the internet really functions. In brief, these laws will be able to give companies and the government power to shut down any website that hosts even one piece of copyrighted material — it could be something as trivial as a promotional movie poster. I mean, come on! The goal of these bills is to be understood as trying to limit piracy, which is the illegal downloading of copyrighted material (mostly movies and music). But shutting down websites for something that may be very trivial is insane. You may think that this only affects the folks who illegally download music and movies. Incorrect. It is fairly likely that websites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia could all be shut down should there be even some minor violation. The current laws that require websites to take down copyrighted material upon notice from the copyright holder are plenty. Instead, the government is looking to pry again. Why do I bring this up this week? You may have noticed a giant black sticker on Google’s search page or heard that Wikipedia (and many other websites) shut down for the day on Wednesday. Nobody without his or her deep pockets in mind likes this. Let’s see if legislators actually listen. My guess is that they won’t, like usual.
Word from the Woods
The Woodland boys enjoyed their most successful week of the season with their first two victories over Masuk and Crosby. Last Friday, the Hawks picked up their first win in a 93-91 nail-biter against the Panthers. Event winners for Woodland included the 200 medley relay team of Patrick O’Dell, Alan Katrenya, Andrew Cullen, and Pat Dietz, Andy O’Dell (200 free, 500 free), Aidan Music (200 IM), Eric Dietz (50 free, 100 free), Steve McCusker (diving), Patrick O’Dell (100 fly, 100 back), Katrenya (100 breast), and the 200 free relay team of the Dietz brothers, Music, and Andy O’Dell. On Tuesday, the Hawks earned a 57-40 win over Crosby. Event winners for Woodland included the 200 medley relay team of Music, Patrick Dietz, Katrenya, and Ryan Greenwood, Cullen (200 free), Andy O’Dell (200 IM, 100 fly)), Greenwood (50 free), Michael Christiano (diving), Music (500 free), and the 200 free relay team of Patrick O’Dell, John Dyckman, Greenwood, and Cullen. The Hawks (2-4) will take their two-meet winning streak for four more road contests starting Friday at Lyman Hall and Tuesday at Seymour.
The Naugatuck boys lost a dual meet to Holy Cross for the first time in 29 years on Friday as the Greyhounds fell, 96-90. The meet came down to the 400 free relay, which was won by the Crusaders in 3:31.65. Event winners for the ‘Hounds included Chris Branco (200 free), William Wright (200 IM, 100 back), Isabelle Moody (diving), and the 200 free relay team of Branco, Scott Sill, Eric Hanley, and Wright. The defeat was Naugatuck’s first of this season in the Naugatuck Valley League, bringing the Greyhounds to 2-2 overall and 2-1 in the league. Next, Naugy goes back out of league to host Conard and Pomperaug in a tri-meet on Friday.
Lips to CN’s Ear
“In swimming you have to put in all the hard work and push yourself to the extreme. It’s in the perseverance, which is where the success comes from. And it’s that same work ethic that they learn, that will carry throughout their life and make them successful in their career choices. That is what this is all about. I would view a successful season like this: When all is said and done and the kids can look back on it and say that all the hard work was worth it and they would do it again. That is a successful season.”
Naugatuck boys swimming coach Jim McKee on what it means to be successful in swimming. McKee has been coaching at Naugatuck for 36 years and is one of the most decorated coaches in state history. Despite his team losing to Holy Cross for the first time since 1983, he maintained that the meet was not a failure due to his team’s individual successes.
“I’m feeling really good about our team. I still don’t think we’ve played our best game yet. When we can get all of our girls going at the same time, I think we’re going to be a real tough team to beat.”
Naugatuck girls basketball coach Jodie Ruccio after the Greyhounds defeated Woodland, 53-34, on Friday night. A number of players contributed in different ways, including Steph Lima’s 15 points, Amy Dietz’s 14 points, and Lauren Piroscafo’s nine steals. The victory put the ‘Hounds within one win of returning to the state tournament.
“Yeah, we let a 14-point lead slip away. But in the same breath, we responded and, like I told the boys, a win is a win. This is beautiful for us because we haven’t won a tight one like this in a while. Every time we’re in a tight game it feels like we’re on the other end.”
Naugatuck boys basketball coach Mike Wilson after the ‘Hounds held on to beat Woodland, 52-50, on Friday night. Naugy let a 14-point lead wear down to a tie with just a few seconds remaining before Husani Foote hit a buzzer-beating 10-footer to even the Greyhounds’ record at 5-5 on the season, including three straight wins.