BEACON FALLS — The Woodland and Naugatuck girls met for the second time this season last Friday with both teams needing just one more win to qualify for the postseason.
Woodland seized control early and held a 12-0 lead after the first quarter. The Hawks had the game well in hand — and a state tournament berth — as they headed to the locker room with a 19-6 lead at the break.
The Hawks have struggled offensively in the second half of some games this year, but that wasn’t the case against the Greyhounds as Woodland went on to win 38-25.
Woodland (8-9) qualified for the Class M state tournament with the win, while Naugatuck (7-11) is hunting for win number eight to punch a postseason ticket.
“The game plan was simple,” Woodland head coach Jess Moffo said. “Protect the ball and not turn it over. We came out and attacked the basket got the lead and never looked back.”
Morina Bojka led the Hawks with 22 points. Maddie Hupprich (9 points), Jenna Pannone (5 points) and Haley Andrews (2 points) rounded out the scoring for Woodland.
“Morina, Maddie and Jenna, our three senior captains, did a phenomenal job as they have all season,” Moffo said. “The key was getting Molly Kennedy in foul trouble early on, she picked up two fouls in the first few minutes of the game.”
Eliza Smith, Cam Johnson and Meg Sirowich kept up the defensive pressure on Naugatuck. The Greyhounds didn’t break into double digits scoring until there was two minutes remaining in the third quarter when Mia Rotatori came away with a steal and fed a pass down court to Michelle Cordova (4 points), who converted the fast break opportunity to make it a 28-10 game.
“For whatever reason we get into certain games and we just don’t show up,” Naugatuck head coach Ron Plasky said. “A week ago we went up to Torrington and we were down 25-0 after the first quarter.
“What really hurt us was Molly (Kennedy) picking up her second foul two minutes into the game. Because she is our main offensive threat, we struggled with her on the bench.”
The Greyhounds never stopped battling. With four minutes to play they cut the deficit to 31-21 before Kennedy (5 points) and Alyana Sosa fouled out. Alexis Woods (4 points) helped Naugy to play Woodland to a 19-19 second half tie.
Naugatuck fell to Torrington, 49-31, on Monday. Kennedy led the Greyhounds with nine points.
The Greyhounds have shown signs of a team that is capable of qualifying for the state tournament, including a 45-23 win over Ansonia on Feb. 1.
Hailey Deitelbaum hauled in 14 rebounds and scored seven points against Ansonia. Sosa led the way with nine points. Shannon Burns and Bridget Rosikiewicz had eight and five points, respectively, to spark the offense.
With only two games left, Naugatuck is running out of chances to make it to the postseason. The Greyhounds will visit Watertown on Friday and host Wolcott on Feb. 14.
The Hawks, which came into the game against Naugatuck off a 62-39 loss to Watertown on Feb. 1, will look to improve their seeding in Class M over the final stretch of the season.
Woodland fell to Wolcott, 48-45, on Wednesday. Morina Bojka led the Hawks with 13 points. Hupprich tacked on 11 points.
The Hawks will host Torrington on Friday before closing out the season next week versus Seymour on Feb. 14 and Kaynor Tech on Feb. 16.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from the version published in the Feb. 10 print edition of the Citizen’s News to include games played on Feb. 8.