The Shelton High boys basketball team came up one point shy of its third win of the season on Friday night, falling to host North Haven, 65-64.
“We turned the ball over down here a couple of times,” said Shelton coach Brian Gardiner. “That hurt us. That’s been our problem all year. Effort-wise they deserved to win the game. We completely out-hustled them out-scrapped them and out-worked them. We won three quarters they won one — and the quarter we lost was one point more than we had
“ I don’t know why, but it’s been our season where we win three quarters of the game and the one quarter that they beat us in is the difference.”
Sophomore guard Peri Basimakopoulos led all scorers with 26 points.
Kyle Davis and Brian Berrioto each added 12 points for Shelton.
“Peri’s been in and out of the starting lineup all year long,” Gardiner said. “He’s settling in as the first guy off the bench. He’s been playing a lot better coming in three minutes into the game. For whatever reason that’s been working so we stuck with it. He brings us some energy off the bench scoring off the bench. He’s giving us a good lift, filling his role.”
Four North Haven players registered in double figures. RJ Hager led the Indians with 15 points. Jake Lafond added 13 points and William VanNieuwenhuyze and Jack Broggi each had 12.
North Haven led 7-1 and 12-5, despite layups from Davis and Berritto.
Basimakopoulos answered a Lafond 3-pointer with a trey and Will Ciccone followed with a layup to make it 12-11.
Berritto made his first 3-pointer to tie the game at 14.
North Haven then went on a 12-0 run to end the first quarter up 26-14.
“The last four games it’s been just like this where it has come down to the last minute or two of the game,” Gardiner said. “The other team has made a couple more plays than we have. We’re giving up our possessions with turnovers. That’s been the difference, unfortunately.”
The Gaels answered the Indians with a much closer played second quarter.
Lafond and Basimakopoulos began the quarter exchanging baskets, as Basimakopoulos scored the Shelton’s first seven points of the quarter.
Brian Belade then laid one in before Hager started a three-spree. Davis followed Hager with a three and Berritto followed Davis. Hager then hit his second trey of the quarter, before Basimakopoulos had a three-point play.
VanNieuwenhuyze followed Basimakopoulos with two layups to give North Haven a 10-point lead at the half.
“We’re playing so much better than earlier in the year,” Gardiner said. “But unfortunately we’re coming up with a one-point loss, a two-point loss, a three-point loss…It’s frustrating because they’re working hard, they’re playing hard. We just can’t get one more stop or one more basket that we need to win.”
Broggi started the second half with a layup. Then, Shelton went on a 10-3 run on 3-pointers from Matt Hunyadi, Berritto and Basimakopoulos, cutting the deficit to five points.
Zach Pincince broke up the run, before the Gaels scored another seven straight points heading into the fourth quarter. The Gaels outscored the Indians 14-7 in the quarter.
Basimakopoulos started the fourth with a three to tie the game at 49. Ethan Okwuosa followed with a jumper and VanNieuwenhuyze added a layup. Ciccone then hit two free throws to make it 53-51.
VanNieuwenhuyze followed with a layup, before Basimakopoulos hit two free throws and Davis got a layup to tie the game at 55.
Broggi took back the lead with a layup then Ciccone went to the line and made 1-of-2.
Berritto and Davis followed each with layups to give Shelton their first lead of the game, 58-57. Davis followed with another lay-in to give the Gaels a three-point lead.
The Indians responded with eight-point run, on four VanNieuwenhuyze points and baskets from Okwuosa and Hager.
Davis answered with another layup to cut the lead to three points. Davis then laid another one in at the buzzer to make it a one-point game but it was too late as the Gaels fell to North Haven 65-64.
“I’m just feeling bad for our guys because they deserve better at this point because they’re playing hard enough,” Gardiner said. “It stinks you come out with a one-point loss because you’re not getting rewarded for all effort that they’re putting in. They’re doing what we’re preaching and it’s been a hair short.”