Shelton High’s girls basketball team is seeking to improve upon last year and, if successful, the Gaelettes stand a good chance to qualify for the state playoffs.
After all, Shelton went 6-14, two wins shy of state qualification. There were some close setbacks along the way, not to mention head coach Joe Cavallaro believes his lineup — which is mostly intact from a year ago — made strides as the campaign unfolded.
“We got a lot of experience last year, and I think we improved as the season went along,” said Cavallaro, whose team lost three seniors and only one starter in Nicole Wells.
The Gaelettes are striving to improve their offense and believe, if they do, the rest stands to fall into place given good team chemistry. The players participated in both summer and fall leagues together.
Shelton held opposing squads to 39 or fewer points per game 10 times, but was held under 40 points 11 times. “We have some quickness. We have some tough kids,” Cavallaro said. “We have to shoot much better (Shelton made only about 25 shots from 3-point range a year ago).”
After seeing his team make a little more than one shot from beyond the arc per game, the Shelton coach wants the Gaelettes to sink three or four per game. “They’ve gotten a year older and spent a little time doing it,” Cavallaro said of his squad practicing its long-range shooting.
Captains Colleen Flood and Roberts, will start along with Erin Adler, Sarah Skowronski and Casey O’Connor.
“Working as a team is the biggest thing — communication, working together. We should be really good this year,” said Roberts, adding that one of the goals is to double last season’s win total.
That may be as simple as the team making those two or three more 3-pointers per game. Among last year’s close losses were a two-point nail-biter to Lauralton Hall of Milford, four- and five-point setbacks to Lyman Hall from Wallingford and FCIAC opponent Norwalk. A pair of Cheshire games were decided by six and seven points.
The Southern Connecticut Conference is challenging, Cavallaro said of the conference, pointing to defending SCC champion Mercy-Middletown, runner-up Daniel Hand, a solid Career-New Haven squad, and a Jonathan Law-Milford team that returns its starters for the third year in a row.
Shelton will jump into the proverbial fire, with two of its first three games — the opener against Daniel Hand, home on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. and game three, at Career, on Dec. 18 — against 20-plus win squads.
“We’ll get a good test. We’ll get a feel of how we are,” Cavallaro said. “We’ll compete.”
“It’s kind of sad it’s our last year, but I’m looking forward to it.”