BY KEVIN ROBERTS
He doesn’t get the recognition of an Ese Onakpoma or an Avery Hinnant, but Naugatuck senior reserve Perris Sayler deserved praise for his effort in a 70-62 win Jan. 14 over Notre Dame-Fairfield at the University of Bridgeport.
Sayler scored eight points, including five near the end of the first half when seniors Hinnant and Jayshawn Lindsay were on the bench.
The Greyhounds led the Lancers, 36-33, at halftime, in no small part because of Sayler’s effort.
With just over four minutes left in the game and Naugatuck up nine, Sayler blocked a Notre Dame shot. About a minute later, Sayler was at the line and calmly hit a pair of free throws to put the Greyhounds ahead by double digits, 61-50.
Naugatuck lives by the motto of “We before Me,” and the effort that Sayler gave off the bench was just another example.
His teammate, senior Ryan Noble, has put together similar efforts throughout the season. Noble scored 10 points in the Greyhounds’ 77-47 win over Seymour on Jan. 21. Noble and Sayler netted 12 points apiece in an 87-40 victory over Wolcott on Jan. 18.
“Seven guys contribute,” Naugatuck coach Mike Wilson said after the Greyhounds’ rout of Crosby earlier this season. “Noble and Perris, our sixth and seventh guys, are really helpful for us. They don’t get the limelight in terms of all the minutes, and they have to come in for short periods, but those two mean the world to me. Their commitment to the team – it’s a joy to watch those guys.”
The Greyhounds (12-0), who were ranked seventh in the state media poll, were set for an important matchup against Kennedy (8-1) in Waterbury on Tuesday. Naugy’s only other regular-season date of interest is Friday, when the ’Hounds will host a rematch against St. Paul, a team that gave Naugatuck its closest game of the year, a 66-63 nail-biter Jan. 11 in Bristol.
Kyle Brennan contributed to this story.
BY KEVIN ROBERTS