Up and down season builds chemistry for City Hill girls

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The City Hill Middle School girls basketball team recently completed the Junior Naugatuck Valley League season. Pictured are managers Adam Peterson, Nicole Healy and Kathryn Healy; eighth-graders Raina Ceryak, Madison Jensen, Andrea Mercer, Nicole Boucher Ally Mezzo, Sophie Boucher, Taya Diaz, and Allison Terry; seventh-graders Allison Klimaszewski, Emma Healy, Kelly Murphy, Nicole Crowley, Olivia Rotatori, Abby Jang along with coaches Fred and Jeanne Scheithe. -CONTRIBUTED

NAUGATUCK — The City Hill girls basketball team had a couple of buzzer-beating moments this season on the way to an 8-7 record.

One year after Hillside and City Hill middle schools merged, head coach Fred Scheithe felt team chemistry allowed them to pick up where they left off last season.

“We only had two returning starters,” Scheithe said. “But this team got better each day and with every game. We developed some team chemistry and became a much better team by the end of the season.”

Leading the way where team captains Nicole Boucher, Madison Jensen, and Raina Ceryak. Eighth-graders Andrea Mercer, Sophie Boucher, and Ally Mezzo along with Taya Diaz and Allison Terry provided the team leadership for the Cyclones.

“Andrea and Raina were the only experienced starters,” Scheithe said. “We ended up 7-5 in the league and three of those losses were by a combined total of just five points.

“It was a hot and cold type of season” Scheithe added. “We lost a few close games and then in the rematch we ended up winning by double-digits.”

City Hill started out with a tough two-point loss to Wallace Middle School of Waterbury after missing a shot at the buzzer. That was followed by a one-point loss to Rochambeau. Those two games only served the purpose of getting the team to come together and build a winning chemistry.

Seventh-graders Allison Klimaszewski, Kelly Murphy, and Nicole Crowley teamed up with Olivia Rotatori, Emma Healy, and Abbie Jang to provide a little bit of depth that led to a turnaround for the Cyclones.

“Madison was a new point guard and by seasons end she was running our offense,” said Scheithe. “There was just no quit in these kids and the games we were losing by one we ended up winning the rematch.”

City Hill brought it all together in a 12-point victory in the rematch with Wallace. The wins then began to add up as the team’s confidence grew.

Nicole Boucher led the team with at 13 points per game and 22 3-pointers. Ceryak took care of business under the boards leading the team with seven rebounds and four blocks per game.

“We have a very talented and athletic group of sixth- and seventh-graders. That should help us next year in the rebuilding process, and I’m looking forward to another fun filled season,” Scheithe said.

Nicole Boucher was named the most outstanding player and given the unsung hero award. Andrea Mercer was honored as the most outstanding offensive player, and Madison Jensen was named the most outstanding floor leader.

The most outstanding defense award went to Raina Ceryak, and Sophie Boucher was named the most improved player. Ally Mezzo and Taya Diaz earned the coach’s and hustle awards.

Scheithe also recognized clock manager and scorekeeper Adam Peterson along with twin sisters and team managers Kathryn and Nicole Healy.