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Week of Dec. 11: Woodstock Academy opens season with win over NFA

Smiles all around.

There was little for the Woodstock Academy girls basketball team to be disappointed about after it posted a season-opening, 55-43, win over Norwich Free Academy Tuesday at the Alumni Fieldhouse in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I game.

“We accomplished some things that we worked on and tried to get ready. I wish I could show you a snapshot of the (white) board downstairs because I think the girls executed everything I put up there and I thought I had a good tap on how we could get this one. We executed it and it all came true. We got it,” said Woodstock Academy coach Will Fleeton.

The Centaurs came out of the gates quickly as they scored nine of the first 10 points and raised that lead to 14 by the middle of the second quarter.

But the Wildcats did answer a bit late in the first half, scoring eight of the last 10 points to cut the deficit to eight, 28-20, at the half.

Emily Orcutt, who led NFA with 15 points, put down a fallaway jumper just 34 seconds into the second half to cut the Centaurs lead to six.

That’s when Woodstock Academy junior Eva Monahan went to work.

The six-foot inside player stepped out beyond the 3-point line and for a second time in the game put down the shot.

“I kind of picked it up during AAU,” Monahan said. “I’ve had a couple and I usually knock down one or two a game. It’s kind of become part of my game and really helps me spread the floor.”

Monahan, who finished with a game-high 22 points then got three points the traditional way, driving to the basket for a hoop, getting fouled and making the foul shot.

Her six points and a pair of free throws by Kaylee Saucier put the Centaurs back up by 14, 36-22.

NFA would not get closer than nine points the remainder of the way. 

“She’s a basketball player,” Fleeton said of Monahan. “We focused on getting the ball into her early in the game. I kind of thought that they would double or come down and cause some problems but they didn’t early. She got 1-on-1 matchups and she has been taught that if she gets 1-on-1, it’s her time. She got a lot of buckets early.”

Indeed, Monahan scored 13 of her points in the first half.

She also managed to get NFA into foul trouble as three of their frontcourt players had two fouls before halftime.

It was not only Monahan’s doing.

“Anybody that scouted us out there had a tough one because everybody gave me something,” Fleeton said.

Isabel D’Alleva-Bochain saved her scoring for the bookend quarters as she scored six points each in the first and fourth to finish with 12.

Saucier added 10.

“That was so important,” Monahan said of the win. “We lost to them twice last year, one of them was really close here. We played them a couple of times over the summer and they were tight (games). They knocked us out in a tournament - we didn’t like that. We have been preparing for them for about a month now so we were ready coming into this.”

The Centaurs went from a tough game at home to an even tougher game on the road as they battled another ECC Division I opponent on Friday.

Woodstock Academy traveled down to the shoreline where it battled hard and hung against defending Class MM state champion, New London, but eventually fell, 48-32.

D’Alleva-Bochain paced the Centaurs with 11 points, nine of those came in the first half.

Saucier added eight points including a pair of 3-pointers.