Updated girls basketball: Shelton’s defense leads way

Maggie Howard pulls up for a jumper in the win over West Haven. — Andy Hutchison photos

Shelton High’s girls basketball team forced turnover after turnover and converted off enough steals to build a big lead and pull away for a 40-25 win over visiting West Haven on Friday night.

Coach Joe Cavallaro’s Gaelettes improved to 4-6 and West Haven fell to 2-7.

Maggie Howard had 11 points. Kayla Resto, Leya Vohra and Reem Abdel-Hack all added six.

Mackenzie Joyce dropped in four, Kiera O’Connor scored three, Lily Boles tacked on two and Grace Boles and GiGi Gamboian each chipped in with one.

Joyce had nine rebounds and Resto pulled down eight.

Vohra had five steals, helping to set the defensive tone in the first half.

Howard and Resto had four and two steals, respectively.

“We played hard and we forced a lot of turnovers. We played really hard the whole game. We just had the trouble we’ve had all year, which is putting the ball in the basket,” Cavallaro said.

The Gaelettes fell behind 5-0 but clawed back for a 10-8 lead after one quarter of play and never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.

Resto hit an outside jumper to break an 8-8 tie, giving Shelton its first lead.

Howard opened the second-quarter scoring, about a half-minute into the stanza, with a 3-pointer. For the next couple of minutes, neither team could score. Another Resto outside shot extended the lead to 15-8 with 5:44 to play.

Vohra rattled home a basket for a 17-8 lead, capping an 11-0 run, with 4:41 to play in the first half. West Haven was limited to just two points in the second quarter, as the Gaelettes built a 19-10 lead at the break.

West Haven didn’t manage another field goal until 2:48 remained in the third quarter. By that time, the Gaelettes had scored 26 points and extended the lead to as many as 15 in the quarter.

Abdel-Hack blocked a shot and converted a fast-break layup, and Howard drained a 3-pointer as part of the Shelton’s pull-away. It was 27-17 after three.

Early in the fourth, after West Haven had trimmed the deficit back to nine, Howard restored Shelton’s double-digit lead with a drive for two points making it 29-18.

Thanks in large part to Shelton’s tough defense, West Haven only managed three fourth-quarter free throws until a Dynastee Francis 3-pointer with two-plus minutes remaining.

Both teams pressed, but the Gaelettes did not allow West Haven to break the pressure very much with a strong three-quarter court trap.

O’Connor, Vohra and Joyce led the defensive effort and hustled throughout the contest.

“We turned it into a full-court game which is what we need to do with our size,” Cavallaro said.

Both Southern Connecticut Conference teams came into the matchup riding three-game losing streaks, and the Gaelettes were pleased to get back into the win column.

“It’s a very tough league. There are not a lot of easy wins,” Cavallaro said.

West Haven

Amanda Carr 1 4-7 5, Keegan Riccio 0 1-4 1, Ebonie Jones 2 -2 5, Diamond Dixon 1 3-4 6, Nyauke Serrano 2 0-2 4, Dynastee Francis 1 0-0 3.

Totals: 7 9-17 25

Shelton

Kayla Resto 3 0-0 6, Mackenzie Joyce 2 0-2 4, Leya Vohra 3 0-2 6, Grace Boles 0 1-2 1, Maggie Howard 4 1-8 11, Lily Boles 1 0-0 2, Reem Abdel-Hack 3 0-0 6, Gigi Gamboian 0 1-2 1, Kiera O’Connor 1 1-2 3.

Totals: 17 4-20 40

West Haven 8-2-7-8   25

Shelton      10-9-8-13  40

3-pointers: V— Diamond Dixon 1, Dynastee Francis 1. H —Maggie Howard 1

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