Two down, two to go! Here we go no, Gang Green!
Round of Applause
Area basketball players are all over the Naugatuck Valley League’s scoring leaderboard as we’re at about the halfway mark of the season. On the girls charts, Woodland’s Heather Framski is third in the league, averaging 19.3 points per game. On her heels is Naugatuck’s Lauren Piroscafo, who averages 16.1 points per game, good for fifth in the league. Also averaging in double figures is Woodland’s Lindsay Feducia, who is 10th in the league with an average of 12.7 points per game. Both schools also make their presence felt on the boys charts, led by Woodland’s Yahmad Rountree, who is tied for second in the league with an average of 20.1 points per game. Naugatuck’s Brandon Kuczenski places eighth, averaging 15.3 points per game, while the Hawks have two more scorers averaging in double figures. Rahmi Rountree puts in an average of 12.8 points per game while Ryan Angeloszek nets 10.9 points per game.
The New York Jets’ defense played the best game I think I’ve ever seen from my beloved team last Sunday in the divisional playoffs against the Patriots. Every time the Jets face Tom Brady, I have an awful feeling that he’s going to pick my team apart—just like he did on Monday Night Football in December. Instead, Rex Ryan’s game plan was incredible, mixing up man defenses with zones accompanied by normally three- or four-man rushes. For the first time this season, the defensive line was able to get pressure on the quarterback, led by Shaun Ellis’ two sacks, and Brady looked lost for a good portion of the game. Everyone knows how good Darrelle Revis is at cornerback, but Antonio Cromartie, Drew Coleman, Dwight Lowery, Eric Smith, Brodney Pool, and the rest of the Jets’ secondary played absolutely incredibly, covering the Patriots’ receivers for up to nine seconds on some plays to lead Gang Green to one of the biggest wins in team history. Those guys will need to have another great game Sunday against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.
Bart Scott was absolutely hilarious after the Jets’ win on Sunday. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to see his interview immediately after the game with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio, I highly suggest heading over to YouTube to see this. He starts yelling before Paolantonio even gets to ask Scott a question, and the questions only fire him up more. Scott was highly upset about the lack of respect given to the Jets’ defense before the game and made sure he rubbed it in to “all you non-believers.” He finished his brief statement by yelling, “Can’t wait!” when Paolantonio said he’d see Scott this weekend in Pittsburgh. Boy, I love these guys.
Chorus of Boos
My computer keeps distracting me from studying. No, I’m not even back in school yet—I don’t start my spring semester at Quinnipiac until after this weekend. I’m talking about my computer distracting me from watching college basketball. I assume most of you know what I mean—if you start something on the computer, you’re bound to end up switching tasks until they don’t become tasks anymore but rather random searches on YouTube for professional wrestling videos from the late 1990s or hours spent staring at Facebook. I need to try to break the addiction and get back to watching college basketball because before I know it the calendar will turn to March and I won’t be properly prepared for fill out my two dozen brackets. Nothing’s worse than being ill-prepared to fill out brackets. Horrors.
Overtime’s NFL Conference Championship Picks
Packers over Bears: Some analysts called Aaron Rodgers’ superb performance in the Packers’ divisional-round win over the Falcons one of the best playoff games by a quarterback ever. It’s hard to argue with that after he was 31-of-36 for almost 400 yards and accounted for four TDs. The Bears’ defense is much better than Atlanta’s, but I don’t see any stopping Green Bay right now. Jay Cutler is bound to make the bad mistakes against a playmaking Packers defense that he didn’t make in Chicago’s win over the Seahawks. Rodgers won’t have as big a game as he did last week, but he’s going to keep on proving he’s one of the best quarterbacks in football.
Jets over Steelers: The Jets’ win over the Patriots was the most pleasant surprise I’ve ever had. I’m cautiously optimistic that New York will finally get over the AFC Championship Game hump and get to the Super Bowl for the first time since Joe Namath and company’s trip in 1969. Mark Sanchez couldn’t have played much better than he did against New England and the Jets’ defense turned in its best performance of the season at the perfect time. Ben Roethlisberger will pose as much a challenge as Tom Brady with his mobility but I have this weird feeling that I’ve never had before that I think the Jets will actually get this done. I hope I didn’t jinx it.
Tony’s back for the first time since the summer to bring a little warmth to your cold winter day. Without further ado, here’s Tony…
1. The Packers will beat the Bears, 24-13, and the Steelers will beat the Jets, 14-10, to set up a great matchup in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6. (Note: Remember, Tony’s a Packers fan.)
2. UConn’s Kemba Walker will be the Wooden Award winner as national player of the year. He’s averaging 25.5 points per game for the Huskies, who have been in the top 10 since he led them to the Maui Invitational championship.
3. The Pro Bowl should be played the week after the Super Bowl like it used to be. Enough of the extra week off between the conference championships and the Super Bowl. This way, we don’t have to wait around for the Super Bowl and nobody has to sit out of the Pro Bowl.
Lips to CN’s ear
“I think from last season ‘til now we already changed the image of Woodland basketball. People love coming out to watch us play. We have even more support from our community. Every day we’re going to work harder so that we can keep a positive image for our basketball program.”
– YAHMAD ROUNTREE
Woodland boys basketball senior on how the Hawks’ success so far this season has generated excitement about the team in the school and the community. Yahmad is averaging 20.1 points per game, which is tied for second in the Naugatuck Valley League, while his brother, Rahmi, is averaging 12.8 points per game as a sophomore and junior Ryan Angeloszek averages 10.9 points per game. Woodland is 6-3 overall and is in position to compete for its first division crown and first berth to the NVL tournament.