Piccirillo steps into scorers role

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Naugatuck’s Angelina Piccirillo pushes the ball up court Monday night against Kaynor Tech. Through the first three games, Piccirillo has been the team’s top scorer with 47 points. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck girls basketball coach Jodie Ruccio knew the last game of last season posed a serious concern for the Greyhounds.

It marked the final game in the career of Lauren Piroscafo, the team’s leading scorer the last two seasons, and the beginning of the search for a new offensive leader.

Through three games into this season, one player appears to be emerging as a legitimate scoring threat. Her name is Angelina Piccirillo, one of the team’s senior captains.

Piccirillo has been the team’s top scorer in its first three games. She had 18 against Crosby, 14 at Torrington and 15 versus Kaynor Tech.

“I think Ang right now is our go-to girl,” Ruccio said. “She wants to score, she’s aggressive, she’s consistent. Right now, some of the other girls are inconsistent. Every single night, she’s gonna put in 10 to 16 points. That’s how we feel right now.”

Piccirillo said she feels relaxed on the court despite the pressure to be a scorer at the moment. That may be because she’s been playing on the varsity level since her freshman season, in addition to starting every game last year.

“It’s a real big help,” Piccirillo said. “I remember playing Torrington my freshman year and scoring 11 points. Even just coming off the bench, it’s easier to help your team when you’re comfortable.”

Naugatuck will need more consistency from its offense to put together a winning season. Ruccio believes the talent is there.

“Scoring has been a concern since the last day of last season when Lauren left,” Ruccio said. “I do think we get better shots up, I do think we’re more fluid, we just need to put shots in. Girls that aren’t used to taking shots, that’s the biggest thing.”

Ruccio specifically mentioned Jess Butler and Emma Colucci, both juniors, who need to adjust to their roles on this year’s team to be scoring options. Piccirillo described Butler and Colucci as “two of the fastest players she’s ever seen.”

The Greyhounds will hope to put that speed to use. In addition, they want to incorporate other experienced players like senior captains Steph Lima and Amy Dietz, who both have double-figure scoring potential on any given night.

“We’re hoping to have more balance,” Ruccio said.  “We have the ability to do it.”