The Shelton High boys basketball team dropped a 75-60 decision to Amity High in a Southern Connecticut Conference Housatonic Division matchup in Woodbridge on Thursday night.
Zac Campbell powered the Spartans (13-4, 7-1 SCC Housy) with 22 points, as Amity clinched the Housatonic Division title.
“They were playing for a championship, on their floor, they’re all seniors and they took it to us,” Shelton High coach Brian Gardiner said.
Classmates Gardner Broderick and Matt Lettick added 19 and 16 points respectively, as the Spartans led for all but one possession during the contest.
Campbell, a senior forward, also scored the 1,000th point of his career — converting an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:10 left to give Amity a 72-56 lead.
“We tried to make it tough for Campbell,” Gardiner said. “Those other guys don’t normally score that many points… They had a night.”
Christian Federici had a team-high 14 points for Shelton (7-10, 3-5), which needs one more victory to qualify for both the SCC and state tournaments.
Ben Malay and Craig Packnick chipped in with 10 points apiece for the Gaels, while Mike Davis added 11.
Poor free-throw shooting by the Gaels kept them from cutting deeper into Amity’s first-half advantage, as they made just 3-of-12 from the stripe.
“If we made our foul shots in the first half, it would’ve been a tighter game at halftime,” Gardiner said.
Shelton made 7-of-9 from the foul line in the second half, but by then faced a double-digit deficit for the final 16 minutes.
Federici converted a three-point play to narrow Shelton’s gap to 54-43 left to play, before Broderick dropped in a runner. Packnick’s jumper kept it an 11-point game, 56-45, with 6:21 remaining, before Lettick countered with a basket and Ben LeVine found Remi Farrell on the low block for a layup.
That led to a Shelton timeout, with Packnick hauling in offensive rebound and muscling in the putback with just over three minutes left.
Campbell then answered with a 3-pointer on the other end, giving the Spartans a 65-49 edge. The senior forward scored eight points down the stretch, including his 1,000th scholastic point, as Amity won for the third time in four games to lock up the Housatonic Division crown.
The two rivals traded baskets in the early going, with Packnick scoring off of a feed in the post from Federici to tie the game at 11.
Amity then reeled off a 14-1 run, keyed by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Campbell to end the first quarter and capped by a steal and three-point play by Broderick.
Baskets from Davis and Malay made it 27-16 Amity, before Davis finished off a left-handed drive to get Shelton within striking distance at 27-18. That was as close as Shelton got the rest of the way, as Lettick tossed in a pair of layups over the final minute to extended Amity’s lead to 36-24 at the half.
Shelton takes on Guilford (7-8) at Kenefick Gymnasium tomorrow at 7, before traveling to North Haven (6-9) on Friday.
The Gaels host Hamden High (7-9) next Monday in the regular-season finale.
“We really have to grind it out over the next week and focus in on winning a game,” Gardiner said.
Shelton lost a 54-42 SCC road decision to Notre Dame of West Haven on Feb. 5.