Boys pg 9 2-13-20

Boys break
losing streak
It had been awhile.
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs boys’ basketball team last walked off the floor with a win on Jan. 13 when they downed Griswold to cap a four-game win streak.
The Centaurs finally got back on the right side of things Feb. 8 after an eight-game losing streak with a 67-62 overtime victory over Plainfield in Central Village.
“A win is a win is a win,” said a relieved Woodstock Academy coach Marty Hart. “We needed it just to keep the dream alive. We haven’t made it easy on ourselves. It’s been within reach and the (post) season is still within reach.”
The win raised the Centaurs record to 5-11.
It means they will have to win three of their last four to qualify for the CIAC Division IV state tournament.
Woodstock Academy travels to E. Lyme and then Stonington on Tuesday and Friday of this week.
The Centaurs finish off the season at home against Ledyard on Feb. 18 and E. Lyme again on Feb. 21.
They had to work for their win over the Panthers (6-8).
Plainfield held the early 15-11 advantage after one quarter, but the Centaurs rallied to take the lead, 27-26, at the half.
Nick Bedard scored almost half of his team-high 15 points in the opening half, putting down seven while Ethan Davis added five of his 13.
Thanks to six more points each by Bedard and Logan Talbot (12 points), Woodstock Academy reeled off 19 points in the third quarter, only to see Plainfield come back to tie by the end of regulation.
The Centaurs outscored the Panthers 12-7 in the extra period.
Liam Blanchflower (11 points) and Aidan Morin (10) each scored five in the overtime.
“Liam scored four of those points on consecutive possessions in overtime at a point when we really needed it,” Hart said. “I’m liking what I see from him. He gives us balance coming in off the bench. It’s a big lift when he comes off the bench and he’s versatile. He can play inside or outside. He’s really developed a nice shooting touch.”
Hart and the coaching staff have been working on everyone’s shooting touch.
The downfall in many of the losses over the course of the losing streak was the ability to put the ball in the basket.
Case in point was the Centaurs’ 49-43 loss to New London Feb. 4. The Centaurs led 35-30 at the beginning of the fourth quarter after a bucket by Bedard with 6:30 to play.
Woodstock Academy made only one of its last seven attempts at the basket.
The Centaurs missed several down the stretch against the Whalers which allowed New London to forge ahead for good following with 4:21 to play.
Pemberton added three free throws and another bucket over the next three minutes to put the Whalers up. 45-41.
New London hit four of its last eight free throws to account for the final.
Bedard and Talbot were the only Centaurs in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Hart decided it was time to do something about it.
He brought in a friend, a shooting coach, as a guest speaker following the New London game.
“That was what we needed,” Hart said.
Against Plainfield, the Centaurs converted on 21-of-26 from the free throw line.
“It really improved their focus and mechanics in terms of shooting,” Hart said. “The foundation was defense and we got that down. Then rebounding and then the motion in our offense and as kind of a final step in the process, working on hitting the shots when we’re open. As I look down the column (against Plainfield), I think we’re taking the right shot with the right confidence.”
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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