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Week 2: Centaurs pick up 1st ECC Division I win

There is plenty of sickness going around throughout the state and country, never mind Northeastern Connecticut and some of that hit the Woodstock Academy girls basketball team on Tuesday.

Starting freshman guard Kaylee Saucier and junior forward Leah Danis were both homebound due to illness and two other varsity players, Leila MacKinnon and Vivian Bibeau, were out with injuries.

It left coach Will Fleeton with just eight healthy varsity players.

It turned out to be enough as the Centaurs raised their record to 3-1 with a 37-28 win over East Lyme.

“Having others step up is what you hope for as a coach and that’s what it’s all about. We definitely follow the ‘next man up’ philosophy,” Fleeton said.

The win also came against an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I team on its home floor which also could help the Centaurs’ confidence a bit.

Woodstock Academy played in Division II last year before being shifted up to Division I this season.

“It was probably more important for the kid’s confidence to reassure them that they’re OK. I know we’ re OK, but I think they need proof. (Tuesday) provided some of that proof that we can play with some of these teams in our league,” Fleeton said.

A fast start is always important on the road and the Centaurs got that.

Woodstock Academy jumped out to a 20-6 lead at the half.

“It was a very good defensive effort, not only in the first half, but the whole game,” Fleeton said. "The kids executed the game plan and played extremely hard. We beat them on the boards after playing good possessions on defense.”

Offensively, sophomore Sophia Sarkis got the Centaurs rolling.

The forward scored eight points in the first quarter as she put home a pair of 3-pointers.

“She got it started right away and helped us get out to that early lead,” Fleeton said.

The second half belonged to another sophomore, Eva Monahan.

Like Sarkis, she finished with 11 points, only seven of her points came in the final quarter.

“We went to her a little extra-heavy in the fourth because they were paying extra attention to her. She made some great passes, got some other players involved, which forced them to back off with their double teams and help so she caught a lot of 1-on-1 action and was able to win those battles,” Fleeton said.

Monahan finished with a double-double as she also pulled down 12 rebounds.

Freshman Sidney Anderson finished with six blocks.

Junior Reegan Reynolds also was a big defensive contributor as she finished with five steals, five rebounds and, with help from Lennon Favreau, held East Lyme’s top scorer to just seven points.

The good news for the Centaurs, in addition to the win, was that they now have a week off prior to heading to the Cranston (R.I.) tournament next Tuesday.

“I think it’s good right now, I might have said something different a week ago,” Fleeton said of the brief break. “But with sickness going around and a couple of injuries, it gives us a little time to nurse ourselves and get back together.”