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Week of Dec. 25: Fast starts and balanced scoring lead Centaurs to 3 victories

It was another nice week for the Woodstock Academy girls basketball team.

It won both its games at the Cranston Holiday tournament and then traveled in the other direction on Saturday and posted a win over Amistad.

It was the team’s sixth win in a row, raised its record to 7-1 and left it just one win shy of qualifying for the state tournament at the end of December.

“This is like living a dream,” said Woodstock Academy coach Will Fleeton. “To be 7-1, to have played the quality of basketball we’ve played, some of the opponents we’ve had, it has raised our bar to start the season. Back in game one, playing a league opponent, I didn’t think we were ready. I think we’re ready, I take those words back, I think we’re ready.”

It was not an easy week for the Centaurs logistically.

They did have to board the bus and take the ride east to Cranston on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and then headed west on Saturday morning.

“I was scared since the schedule came out and I saw that,” Fleeton said. “I was concerned about fatigue and injuries and all the stuff that comes with the high school athlete competing at a high level the way I am asking them to is a task. I was worried about that all along and am just glad we hit Saturday and can regroup now.”

Fast starts were the key to all three victories for the Centaurs.

On Thursday, they battled the tournament hosts, Cranston West, and jumped out to a 17-10 first quarter lead.

They were up 34-17 at the half en route to a 51-38 win.

“That fits where I like to go because we hang our hat on the defensive end,” Fleeton said of the fast starts. “If we can get off to a good start offensively, then it becomes almost money in the bank for us because we can rely on our defense to slow the other team down.”

Sidney Anderson paced the Centaurs with 15 points in the win over Cranston West while Eva Monahan added 11 and Kaylee Saucier chipped in with 10.

It was the same M.O. for the Centaurs against the Prout School on Friday afternoon in Cranston.

They blitzed their opponents early, jumping out to a 21-4 lead, and rolled to a 66-16 win behind a 16-point effort from Monahan, 13 from Vivian Bibeau and Sophia Sarkis chipped in with 12.

On Saturday, it was even better.

Woodstock Academy scored the first 21 points of the game, led 42-12 at the break and posted a 65-27 win.

This time, it was Saucier leading the balanced attack with 12 points while Bibeau added 11 and both Isabel D’Alleva-Bochain and Monahan getting 10 apiece.

“In my belief, that’s the definition of a true team,” Fleeton said of the balance on the scoring side. “Whoever gets the opportunities makes the best of them and that’s the way we roll. I’m ecstatic about that and it’s probably the highlight of the season so far. Everyone is capable. We’ve had games where players off the bench are huge, others where the starters are, and a couple, especially the last few, where everyone has come up big.”

The Centaurs are in the midst of a funky stretch.

They played Amistad this past Saturday, will play East Lyme at home on Tuesday, will then play the Vikings again on the road Thursday and then will host Amistad again this Saturday.

That equals four games in seven days against two teams.

“It’s tough to beat anyone, tougher to beat them twice but it’s insanely tough to beat someone twice in the same week. Playing back-to-back, you get a little too familiar with the other team. I’m all about scouting reports and getting to know your opponent but that’s almost too much. It doesn’t make me feel too comfortable. We have to get through this week,” Fleeton said.