Sluggish starts hinder Hawks

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Woodland’s Justin Marks controls the ball as Seymour’s Alex Massie defends and Woodland’s Rich Rosseau moves in to set a pick Dec. 22 in Seymour. Seymour won the game, 69-54. -CHRISTOPHER MASSA/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

BEACON FALLS — Slow starts have been an Achilles’ heel for the Woodland boys basketball team early on this season.

For the second straight game, the Hawks had trouble coming out of the gate Dec. 22 against Seymour and trailed the Wildcats 21-9 at the end of the first quarter.

“Again we got off to a slow start,” Woodland head coach Tom Hunt said. “By the middle of the second quarter we were chasing 16 points, certainly not the way you want to start a game. Then the light went on and we were able to cut it to two points at the half. That was more like we wanted to play, and obviously the kind of effort we are going to need in order to be successful.”

The Wildcats held off the Hawks’ comeback to earn the 69-54 win.

Dylan Sender, who had a team-high 16 points, Justin Marks (13 points) and Zack Bedryczuk (12 points) got the Hawks into an offensive rhythm as Woodland outscored Seymour 25-15 in the second quarter and trailed 36-34 at halftime.

The offensive problems returned in the third quarter. Woodland managed just six points in the stanza and trailed 52-40 heading into the final quarter.

“We actually took the lead in the third quarter,” Hunt said. “Then (Rich) Rousseau and (Ryan) Swanson picked up their fourth fouls, and we began to struggle offensively again and got behind by double digits again.”

The Hawks put 14 points on the board in the final quarter, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.

“I think they are starting to figure out what needs to happen, especially at the start of a game,” Hunt said. “You can’t keep falling behind and expect to play catch up. We need to do better job right from the outset to stay in the game.

“You are always looking for the positives, and the way we fought back was a good indication of the effort they are putting together. That is something we can build on.”

On Tuesday, the Hawks had their hands full against a very athletic Ansonia squad and hung with the Chargers early.

The slow starts from the first two games were gone as Woodland trailed Ansonia 13-11 after the first quarter. Ansonia stretched the lead to 12 at halftime before pulling away for good in the fourth quarter and taking a 65-44 win.

Bedryczuk led the Hawks (0-3) with 12 points, including two 3-pointers. Sender added 10 points.

The Hawks are off until Jan. 3 when they will visit Watertown. Woodland will then host Naugatuck on Jan. 6.

“We need to come out and work on some sure things and get right into the flow of the game,” Hunt said. “We can’t let ourselves fall behind and then try and come back.”