Overtime with Kyle Brennan

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Round of Applause

Kyle Brennan

The Naugatuck girls basketball team gave Naugatuck Valley League fans the two most thrilling games of the conference tournament. In Saturday’s quarterfinal against Watertown, the Greyhounds used a furious rally in the fourth quarter, including a pair of huge 3-pointers by Steph Lima, to knot up the Indians and send the game to overtime after Lauren Piroscafo scored on an inbounds pass with seven seconds to play. In the extra period, Amy Dietz and Amber Kuczenski came up big on the inside to help put the ‘Hounds in the lead before Piroscafo was able to dribble out the clock for a 53-51 upset victory. In Monday’s semifinal against Torrington, Naugy very nearly pulled another upset. The Greyhounds led by five entering the fourth quarter and were up by two with just over two minutes to play before the Red Raiders took the lead and managed to hold on. It wasn’t a bad showing for No. 6 Naugatuck, beating the Brass Division champion and nearly upsetting a team that hasn’t lost an NVL game to anyone other than Holy Cross this season. Who knows what the ‘Hounds might be able to pull off in next week’s state tournament.

Pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training throughout the country right now. We’re about two and a half weeks from the same happening here in Connecticut high school baseball. This is splendid.

Acting ridiculously at college hockey and basketball games is really so much fun. This fun is amplified when the student section at a low-Division I game is made up of about a dozen guys who just want to yell obnoxious things and make awesome signs that grab the attention of the athletes on the ice and the hardwood. This is exactly what happened over the weekend and it was a blast. My signs were highly popular, made much more successful by my friends aiding me in holding them up (pressing signs against the glass in hockey is much more fun than it may appear). In fact, my locker-room sources (otherwise known as players) tell me that they loved the signs. Of course, these signs were for women’s games. It’s a little strange to make personalized signs for male athletes, because the satisfaction level for their approval isn’t nearly as high. This is all a long-winded way of saying the girls liked my efforts and are now my friends and I are all pumped up as a result. Life as a college loser rules.

Chorus of Boos

Everything is going just swimmingly, so no boos this week. In fact, I prefer when there is nothing making me angry enough to boo. Although, then you don’t get to read rants. So I’m sure I’ll have something to boo next week. In the meantime, I will enjoy a happy week.

Word from the Woods

Indoor Track

While neither the Woodland boys nor girls earned points at last weekend’s State Open, two individuals and a relay team earned the chance to compete at the event. Tayler Boncal placed 13th in the 300 meters with a time of 43.34 seconds, while Tim Madormo was 17th in the 55 hurdles with a mark of 8.62 seconds. The boys 4-by-200-meter relay team of Mike Lang, Nick LaPerriere, Tim Madormo, and Anthony Scirpo finished 14th in 1:36.73 seconds, just better than the time by which they were seeded.

Naugy Notes

Indoor Track

The Naugatuck boys finished in a tie for 20th place at last weekend’s State Open. Those points all came from the Greyhounds’ 4-by-800-meter relay team, which earned a second-place finish behind champion Simsbury. The team of Collin Reilly, Muad Hrezi, Nick Moriello, and Michael Uva ran five seconds better than their seeded time and finished in 8:08.47, four seconds off the winning pace. Hrezi also ran in the 1,600 meters, finishing ninth in 4:30.86, 14 seconds behind the champion.

Lips to CN’s Ear

“We didn’t come into this tournament to just show up. We had every intention to reach the championship game. I’m so proud of my team’s effort. No one gave us much of a chance, but they went out and proved that they belonged in this tournament.”

Naugatuck girls basketball coach Jodie Ruccio on the Greyhounds’ strong performance in the NVL tournament. No. 6 Naugy pulled an upset over No. 3 Watertown in Saturday’s quarterfinal and nearly upset No. 2 Torrington on Monday. The ‘Hounds are set to begin state tournament play on Tuesday.

“We have put in an awful lot of time in the gym at practice to prove we are a much better team than we were when the season started. Over the past four games, we have been focusing on finishing the regular season strong. It has been evident in both our offense and defense.”

Woodland boys basketball coach Tom Hunt on the Hawks’ four-game winning streak to close the regular season and enter this weekend’s NVL quarterfinals with momentum. Woodland will be the No. 7 seed and is set to face No. 2 Wilby.

“The atmosphere is as positive as I ever remember it on a team. If every season is this rewarding, I’m going to coach forever.”

Naugatuck boys swimming and diving coach Jim McKee on the Greyhounds’ enthusiasm as they close the regular season. At 7-3 in the NVL, the ‘Hounds figure to be one of the top teams at next week’s league championship meets.