Early spurt paces Cross over Naugy

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NAUGATUCK — After staking a modest, 8-3 lead midway through the first quarter, Holy Cross exploded on a 20-2 run to provide itself all the cushion it would need in a 57-35 win over Naugatuck Friday.

Devon Diliberto led all scorers with 15 points, nine of which came from behind the arc. The Crusaders (14-2) hit eight three-pointers as a team while holding the Greyhounds (7-9) to only two. Naugy’s Jessica Webber, the Naugatuck Valley League’s third-leading scorer, managed just 13 points and rarely found room to operate, especially near the basket. She was limited to three field goals for the evening, collecting seven of her baker’s dozen at the free throw line.

No other Hound cracked double digits, and with her team down by so many early in the contest, head coach Jodie Ruccio could seldom afford to give her starters a breather. Julia Longo scored eight, Renee Augustine seven, Alexis Granahan five and Danielle Charrette two. Not one bench player tallied a point in the loss.

The visitors did everything possible to fatigue their hosts, employing a lockdown defense that forced frequent turnovers and fed a speedy offensive attack, led by Diliberto and Brianna Bradford, who added 13 points.

Cross led, 21-5, after the first quarter and 38-14, at the half. The Garnet and Grey responded in the third, outscoring the Crusaders, 14-12, in the period, but NHS could not continue the small rally into the fourth.

Despite the defeat, Naugatuck still holds the eighth and final NVL tournament spot with four games to play. The Greyhounds can clinch a berth in the Class L state tournament with a win over Wilby Tuesday.