Girls pg 1 1-3-19

The Woodstock Academy girls’ basketball team hasn’t been all that bad at scoring points this season.
The team is averaging just under 44 points a game in its first five outings.
But it’s the defense that coach Will Fleeton has been pretty content with.
“We always talk about taking pride in our defense and we’ve really done that,” said senior Heather Converse.
The Centaurs are only allowing 31.8 points per game and that is the reason why they are off to a 4-1 start this season.
“I try to tell the kids that if they’re going to wear the WA logo on their jackets and shirts, they have to defend. If not, that WA doesn’t fit,” Fleeton said.
The logo has fit on most of the Centaurs this season.
Take this past week for example.
Woodstock Academy did not host a girls’ Christmas tournament, but got the same feeling by playing two teams that they don’t see on a normal basis in back-to-back games.
The Centaurs downed East Greenwich, R.I., last Thursday, 36-24, and followed that up with a 51-23 win over New Britain Friday.
In both cases, the Centaurs knew little about their opponents.
“The unknown is scary,” Fleeton said,” but the one thing that I felt confident with was if we played Woodstock ‘D’, we would be in the mix.”
His team delivered that.
The Avengers (2-3) had their troubles on Thursday.
East Greenwich, missing one of its starters due to illness, made only 3-of-22 from the field in the first half and scored only seven points.
“That was a goal to try and keep the 3-point shooting down. Without that shooter in the game, it made things a little easier but there were four or five of them that looked like they could stroke it. In the second quarter, I thought we were running them off the line, they weren’t even getting shots up from the perimeter. So that was a goal and I’m happy to hear those numbers,” Fleeton said.
Agreed, the Centaurs weren’t exactly shooting lights out themselves.
Woodstock Academy made only 5-of-18 from the floor in the first half.
“Coming back from Christmas break, we were all in the holiday mood. We just had to get back into the swing of things. I always look forward to coming back to basketball after Christmas,” Converse said.
The Centaurs broke out to a 9-0 lead in the first 4 ½ minutes of the game with Katie Papp (13 points) and Kayla Gaudreau stepping outside for 3-pointers early and Converse getting three points of her own in a more traditional way with a basket and a free throw.
The Papp-Converse connection combined for 21 of the Centaurs’ points.
“Whenever I have three people on me, I look for her. She’s always there and she is a great finisher. We have a really good connection,” Converse said of her fellow big in the Woodstock Academy lineup.
“I thought we attacked the rim pretty well,” Fleeton said. “We started the game hitting some jump shots which haven’t been with us for the last month or so or, at least, it seems that way. But we had a couple go in which gave us some confidence.”
The basket by Converse with 3:38 to play, however, was the last field goal until Aislin Tracey canned a 3-pointer with 5:38 left in the half. The Tracey basket was one of only two in the second quarter for the Centaurs. Peyton Saracina got the other with five seconds left to give Woodstock Academy the 17-7 halftime advantage.
The Centaurs dominated the inside in the second half with Papp scoring eight of her points, including 4-of-6 from the line, and Converse getting four of her eight.
“We had some great inside play with Papp and Converse, offensively, in the paint which made a difference. The guards did a nice job getting them the ball at the right time,” Fleeton said.
The story line was similar against the Hurricanes (1-5).
Woodstock Academy jumped out to the early 7-2 lead on a pair of layups layup from Marina Monrabal and Tracey and a 3-pointer by Gaudreau only to see New Britain, a Class LL program like the Centaurs, rally.
The Hurricanes closed to within two before Converse (11 points) scored at the buzzer to make it 11-7.
The Centaurs then played more of their suffocating defense in the second quarter.
New Britain made only one of its nine shots, turned the ball over seven times and missed a pair of free throws.
“We put so much stock in our defense that we hope it creates some opportunities for us,” Fleeton said.
Woodstock Academy took advantage by putting eight points up on the board, five of those by Converse, to take a 20-9 halftime advantage.
Papp scored six points in the third quarter and Converse added four in a 14-8 run in the third quarter.
Tracey finished it up by scoring seven of her game-high 13 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win for Woodstock Academy.
“Our defense created transition points that helped us extend the lead,” Fleeton said. “I was really proud of our defensive effort (against New Britain).”
The Centaurs get a little New Year’s holiday break. They don’t return to the floor until Jan. 4 when they host Norwich Free Academy in their first Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I game of the season at 7 p.m. at the Alumni Fieldhouse.
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
The Woodstock Academy


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