Youth movement

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Naugatuck High seniors, from left, Jami Dwy, Stefanie Flores and Taylor Campos will lead the Greyhounds on the court this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Naugatuck High seniors, from left, Jami Dwy, Stefanie Flores and Taylor Campos will lead the Greyhounds on the court this season. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Valley saw a significant amount of snow last week for the first time this school year, and along with school cancellations, the storm made sure to remind the NVL that basketball season is here.

Just like the snow, the league will see many players for coach Jodie Burns’ Naugy girls basketball team for the first time this season. Burns knows this even though tryouts are just getting underway.

“We are going to be very inexperienced to start the season,” said Burns, whose Greyhounds finished 8-14 last season and were eliminated in first round of the NVL and state tournaments. “Several freshmen will have to play right away and it could take time for them to learn the plays and adjust to high school level defense.”

Why freshman already? Well, the Greyhounds lost eight players from last season due to graduation. That not only included their two tallest players, Christina Batista and Jill Monck, but it also their guards, Emma Colucci, and Angelina Piccirillo, who led the Greyhounds in scoring.

Burns believes she has multiple players who can stand out and step up this season.

“We are hoping Taylor Campos can run the point and Nicole Boucher can step in to the leading-scorer role. Jackie Aronin can shoot the three and score off of rebounds,” Burns said.

Campos is a senior and Aronin and Boucher are both juniors. Stefanie Flores, another senior who Burns called a “pleasant surprise” last season, will also be a player to watch.

Unlike last year, it will not be a high volume of seniors that Burns is counting on. Rather, she will place her confidence in her young players.

But with youth comes inexperience, and Burns knows this. There are a lot of things that Naugy must work on if they are going to achieve success and improve their record from last year.

One of those things is closing out tight finishes at the end of games.

“We have to be better conditioned than the other teams so in the fourth quarter we can finish strong,” Burns said.

The work does not stop there though. Most of these players are still or just beginning to learn the veteran coach’s system.

“It will take time but we have to learn the offense,” said Burns, who enters her eighth year as head coaching. “Making easy shots and put backs, two things that have hurt us in the past.”

With the loss of Batista and Monck, the Greyhounds lost much of their size in the post. Burns said the team must find new ways to gain the advantage on the boards.

“We have to out-rebound the other teams and limit our turnovers,” Burns said.

Naugatuck will open the season on the road Wednesday at Watertown at 7 p.m. before hosting Woodland Dec. 12.