Woodland, Naugatuck girls hoop teams put up good fight in NVL tourney


There were more than a few teams that let out a collective sigh of relief when Woodland and Naugatuck bowed out in the quarterfinal round of the NVL girls tournament.
Both local teams made it be known that they were in the tournament to win. Woodland took Torrington down to the wire, losing a heartbreaking 52-51 decision to the Raiders. Naugy put up a challenge to Holy Cross before falling short 56-43.
Naugy (9-12), seeded 22nd in Class L, was set to travel to Avon to face the No. 11 Falcons (14-7) on Feb. 27. Woodland (13-8), seeded 11th in Class M, was set to host a first round matchup against No. 22 Canton (10-12) on Feb. 28.
The Hawks took on a very strong Torrington squad (17-4 entering Class L action) and battled to the final buzzer. Lindsay Koliani (7 points) gave Woodland the lead with eight seconds to go before Haley Burger (18 points) sank a pair of free throws with 0.5 seconds remaining to help the Raiders escape with the one-point win.
“It was a great game. Unfortunately we ended up on the wrong side of it,” said Woodland coach Jenn Deeley. “I think our kids knew all along that we could compete with Torrington.
“Credit to Torrington, they had a phenomenal year. As heartbreaking as that loss was, I feel we will learn from our mistakes and it will help us going forward in the state tournament.”
Michaela Gasparri led the team with 16 points and Casey Mulligan chipped in with 11 points. Jenna Chicano scored eight, Koliani put down seven and Peyton Filippone added six.
“Michaela earned All-Division and is a real special talent. She was outstanding on the defensive end,” added Deeley. “Casey has been our leader and earned All-NVL for the third straight year. Now we need to regroup and give it our best in the states.”
There was no getting away from the fact that the Greyhounds had their back to the wall taking on a top-seeded Holy Cross team (18-2 regular season) that has lost one game in the NVL in the last three years.
Apparently Naugy didn’t get the memo, because the Greyhounds grabbed a 13-12 lead after one quarter. The Crusaders battled back to take a slim 30-24 lead at the half.
Holy Cross used a 26-19 second half to pull away with the 13-point win.
“The Wolcott win and the Torrington game really showed how this team has come together in the last two or three weeks,” said Naugy coach Jon Carroll, referring to Naugy’s win over a Wolcott team (14-8 entering the Class MM state tournament) and a one-point loss on a 3-pointer to Torrington.
“I have been telling them all season that they can do this,” said Carroll. “Going down the stretch we needed a win and we went 3-1 in the final four games and they got us in the tournament.
“We didn’t back in, we went out and got it. And against Holy Cross I’m so proud of the way we played. We came out of that first quarter with the lead and that showed we belonged in the tournament.”
Lauryn Ramalho, who earned All-Iron Division honors, led Naugy with 13 points. All-NVL performer Aryn Bombery had 10 points. Indya Waller contributed 11 points.