After a first half in which Shelton overcame East Lyme’s pressure defense but missed some in-close chances, the Gaelettes had to be thinking if they found a way to keep it up in the second half but convert with more frequency they might have a chance to win.
But in Thursday’s Shelton High Girls Basketball Holiday Tournament championship game, East Lyme’s full-court press – coupled with domination on the boards – was simply too much and the visitors turned a 25-16 halftime advantage into a 54-26 triumph.
Shelton fell to 3-4 and East Lyme improved to 5-2.
“We were breaking the press consistently in the first half. We had shots. We had a lot of good opportunities. We just didn’t finish,” Shelton coach Joe Cavallaro said. “We just didn’t make shots. We had a lot of layups we didn’t make.”
Shelton was without Reem Abdel-Hack due to illness, and her 5-foot-11 frame was missed around the hoop.
“We got beat on second and third shots. The offensive rebounds killed us. We just didn’t rebound. That made the biggest difference,” Cavallaro said.
Grace Boles and Kayla Resto got to a bulk of Shelton’s rebounds, combining for more than a dozen pull-downs.
East Lyme got to a majority of the rebounds and forced turnover with quick hands and physical play.
Boles and Resto were both named to the All-Tournament team.
The Gaelettes trailed 12-7 after one quarter of play.
Tournament MVP Megan Bauman hit a pair of her 3-pointers in the second quarter. Bauman finished with 18 points to lead East Lyme.
Shelton was led by Resto, Leya Vohra and Boles, each with five points.
Mackenzie Joyce scored four, Maggie Howard had three and Elizabeth Casinelli and Alivia Leonard both added two.
The Gaelelles were limited to just a Joyce fast-break basket in being outscored 15-2 in the third quarter.
Cavallaro called a trio of timeouts in the first couple minutes of the fourth, as the Gaelettes tried to make something of a game that was slipping away.
Shelton stands to benefit from this contest, as it gets into the heart of its Southern Connecticut Conference schedule.
“If you play more physical teams it helps us become more physical,” Cavallaro said.
Shelton will have some time to practice before the next game. The Gaelettes are off until a Monday, Jan 8, visit to Career Magnet.
Shelton returns home to play Sheehan two days later, and will entertain West Haven on Friday, Jan. 12. All games are scheduled for 7 p.m.