BEACON FALLS — The Woodland girls are still perfect.
Heather Framski scored a game-high 28 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and led her 9-0 Hawks to a 13-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to pull away from Sacred Heart in a 71-57 win Tuesday night in Beacon Falls.
The Hearts (8-2) never led but pulled to within 49-44 with five and a half minutes to play. Sacred Heart couldn’t get any closer, though, as the Hawks went on a 13-0 spurt over a two-minute stretch to increase their lead to a game-high 18 points with just over three minutes left.
Woodland’s high-volume scoring wasn’t just awakened during its fourth-quarter run. The Hawks pushed a fast tempo throughout the first half, taking a 39-33 lead at the break. Woodland’s lead would have been greater had Sacred Heart not gone on a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to cut its deficit to 26-23.
The Hawks effectively used what is becoming their trademark pressure defense, forcing several Sacred Heart turnovers and converting them into points. Framski scored 15 points in the first half while Lindsay Feducia poured in eight, Shannon Meany six, and Kelsey Deegan five.
“As a team, if we are able to run the floor it gives us more options and we are more successful,” Framski said.
The tempo slowed considerably in the third period as each team scored only seven points. There were multiple extended dry spells in the quarter, which Woodland coach Gail Cheney said was a credit to defensive adjustments.
“We switched up our defense a little bit and I think that helped us,” Cheney said. “I think our defense picked it up and we did what we needed to do to win this game.”
Emotions came to a head in the waning seconds of the third when Sacred Heart coach Ryan Sullivan earned a pair of technical fouls and was ejected.
The Hearts briefly used the ejection to gain some momentum as leading scorer Jen Massicotte drained a three-pointer with a few seconds remaining to close the Woodland lead to 46-40 entering the fourth quarter.
“I don’t like to really use somebody who gets in trouble to benefit me,” Cheney said. “Obviously we all get a little excited at times and I think their team really rose to the occasion after he got out of here when they dropped [the lead] to six. But we kept on answering back.”
The answers didn’t just include Framski, but also Feducia, Deegan, Meany, Andrea Piccolo, Kate Tuckey, and Carli Mariotti. Cheney praised Framski’s supporting cast for solid play on both ends of the floor.
“They’re huge,” Cheney said. “Feducia can light it up and even though players like Kelsey Deegan and Kate Tuckey don’t score that many points, defensively they’re right there. As a whole, I couldn’t ask for much more.”
The double-digit win—Woodland’s sixth in nine games—sets up the Hawks with a crucial battle against St. Paul for Brass Division supremacy Friday in Bristol. The Falcons (6-1) swept the season series last year and are Woodland’s chief competition in the Brass.
“This game is going to be very important,” Framski said. “We lost to them twice last year, but this year we both have different teams stepping onto the court. It’s going to come down to who wants it more.”