BEACON FALLS — The secret to the success of the Woodland girls’ basketball squad this winter will be no secret at all: low-post domination. Look no farther than senior Katie Alfiere and junior Heather Framski.
Alfiere, Woodland’s leading rebounder and shot-blocker (and charge-taker), and Framski, the Hawks’ leading scorer from a year ago, will certainly be keys to Woodland’s success, as both are entering their third year of starting on the low blocks. Their collective importance to the team is not lost on either of the all-Naugatuck Valley League candidates.
“We’re two strong post players, and it makes us good as a team,” Alfiere said. “If you have two strong post players, you can do a lot of stuff other teams can’t do. One of us can be off the ball and underneath getting position. We can rebound and box out and not give other teams second chances.”
“It’ll be good to have me and Katie in the frontcourt because we play well together and have varsity experience,” Framski added. “We need to be solid in the paint because this year our guards are going to be newer to the court.”
The backcourt will indeed be the area of uncertainty for the Hawks, as the Black and Gold lost point guard and second-leading scorer Sam Werner from last year’s 9-13 squad. Woodland will look toward a group of players to fill that position, including juniors Kelsey Deegan and Lindsay Feducia.
“As a team, we’re going to have to work harder on offense,” Framski said. “The point guard needs to start to feel comfortable with the ball while running the floor. The biggest thing we need is for someone to step up and fill that position.”
Head coach Gail Cheney is leaving the door open for somebody to take firm control over the point and says nothing is yet set in stone.
“It’s basically going to be the one who plays the best that day will be running the point,” Cheney said. “Positions are never locked in, as far as I’m concerned.”
Though the Hawks do not yet have sure backcourt leaders, Cheney feels that there is plenty of talent on the team to overcome the lack of veteran guards. In fact, Cheney has lofty goals for whatever starting five she puts on the floor.
“Ultimately, I’d like to have five players in double figures,” she said. “If we can’t do that, we’ll need to pick up the defense. To be honest, Katie, Heather, and [sophomore] Carli Mariotti in the frontcourt will help, but I think that we have such camaraderie on this team that it’s going to help us. I don’t have the biggest team in numbers, but they’re the hardest-working players I’ve ever had.”
Cheney also is looking forward to playing in the newly-aligned NVL Brass Division, which features Wolcott, Watertown, Ansonia, Seymour, Derby and St. Paul.
“I think it helps us out a bit,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of talent in the league, and adjusting the divisions spread it out. It should help us.”
As far as goals are concerned, Framski pointed out something besides making the league and Class M state tournaments—something more important to the Woodland basketball program.
“I want Woodland to be noticed,” she explained. “Every year no one sees us as a threat in the NVL. If we play as a team, we should make it to the NVL tournament and actually do something. I don’t want to be the one-and-done team anymore. This year’s the year it needs to change. I’d like to be all-NVL, but I’d love to win our division and maybe a state game for once.”
The Hawks’ scheduled opener Wednesday at Wilby was postponed to Thursday because of snow. Woodland then travels to Seymour Friday night before a three-game homestand, beginning Dec. 15.