Postseason pg 9 2-20-20


Woodstock Academy seniors, left to right: Katie Papp, Rachel Lambert, Kayla Gaudreau and Hallie Saracina celebrated Senior Night. Photo by Marc Allard.

The good news is that the girls’ basketball season will extend beyond 20 games for the Woodstock Academy Centaurs.
The bad news is that they could, possibly, face one of the top two teams in the state, Norwich Free Academy, two more times.
The Centaurs put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the Class LL state tournament with a 39-38 win over Killingly early last week.
Those hopes weren’t dampened all that much by a 56-26 loss to Norwich Free Academy Feb. 11.
The loss dropped Woodstock Academy to 6-13 but the top 32 teams in Class LL make the state tournament. The Centaurs are currently seeded at No. 30.
“We have a pretty good chance but we will take it one at a time until we get there. Things look a little brighter. The kids have picked a good time to pick it up. We’ve won a few recently that put us in this position and we just have to continue to take one at a time,” said Woodstock Academy coach Will Fleeton.
The Centaurs only had one game left to play in the regular season.
They were scheduled to travel to Killingly on Monday for a 7 p.m. game. (the game ended too late for this edition).
The first meeting between the Centaurs and Killingly produced some nail-biting times for both teams.
The direction from Fleeton to senior Kayla Gaudreau with under 30 seconds to play was pretty simple: Go after the basketball. If you foul, that’s OK, too.
The result was even better than Fleeton could have imagined as it led directly to the Senior Night win for the Centaurs.
“Seniors usually come through on Senior Night from what I’ve seen,” Fleeton said. “Going into the last in-bound, I made it clear that we had to go for the steal but if we didn’t get it, we would have to foul right away. I wanted them to go after the ball and if (the officials) called a foul, so what?”
Gaudreau took those words to heart.
Killingly had an in-bounds pass from under the basket, but instead of finding a player close, Killingly opted to go for a lengthy in-bounds pass. Gaudreau got up in the air and deflected the ball and then, it was a foot race. Gaudreau won.
“They picked up the foul and if they hadn’t, I had a good feeling that she was going to have a break away basket,” Fleeton said. “Luckily, she picked up the foul and was clutch at the free throw line and knocked them down.”
Those free throws proved to be the game-tying and game-winning points.
Killingly opened a first quarter lead, 15-11, but the Centaurs reversed those numbers a bit in the second quarter and fought back to a 22-22 tie.
The two teams were also tied at the end of the third quarter at 32.
Gaudreau finished with 13 points in the game.
“We knew it was going to be an intense game especially with a big crowd at home. It was good to pull off the win,” Gaudreau said.
Fellow senior Katie Papp added nine.
Rachel Lambert and Hallie Saracina were honored in Senior Night activities prior to the game along with Gaudreau and Papp.
The Centaurs struggled a bit against NFA.
The Wildcats (16-3) are one of the top two teams in Class LL and played like it Feb. 11.
A 3-point basket by Saracina and another hoop at the buzzer by Papp kept the Centaurs within 10, 19-9, at the end of the first quarter.
But NFA’s defensive pressure and ability to score wore down the Centaurs.
The Wildcats were responsible for many of the 30 turnovers in the game by Woodstock Academy.
As a result, NFA extended the lead to 17, 31-14, at the half and were up, 48-22, at the end of the third quarter.
“That (Woodstock Academy) team looked a lot different than when we played them last week (a 66-31 win for NFA in Norwich),” said Wildcats coach Courtney Gomez. “They were aggressive, weren’t backing down from the press, had great ball movement in the zone and played some great defense. They came out and played tough. It was good for them to come out like that and build some confidence and momentum going into the tournament.”
Gaudreau led the Centaurs with nine points and six rebounds, Papp added five points in the loss.
It may not have been the last time the two will meet this season.
The Centaurs are likely to finish seeded either eighth or ninth-seeded in the ECC Div. I tournament. Should they get past the play-in game, they could meet NFA in the quarterfinals.
The two could also meet in an early round game of the Class LL state tournament.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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