A stingy, shutdown performance on defense coupled with an all-around team effort on offense sent the host Shelton High girls basketball team to a convincing 51-16 victory over Bunnell of Stratford on Saturday night.
The Gaels held Bunnell without a field goal throughout the entire first half and for the first 4:45 of the third quarter, and all 10 team members to step on the court got onto the score sheet as Shelton improved to 3-1.
Casey O’Connor scored 12 points, Erin Adler dropped in 10 and Sarah Skoronski had 8 for the Gaels. Kathryn Arena and Maggie Howard both had 4 points; Nicole Roberts, Kayla Resto and Grace Boles all had 3; and Lily Boles and Colleen Flood each added 2.
“I think we moved the ball well. We were really unselfish,” Shelton head coach Joseph Cavallaro said. “We were really happy that everybody got a chance to play. They played together.”
“We were getting off good passes, good entry into the post. We got off good shots,” added Flood, a senior captain.
A trio of freshmen contributed on the offensive end of the floor with the Boles twins both logging their first varsity points, and first-year player Howard also chipping in.
The Gaels capitalized on second-chance opportunities. “We’ve been trying to focus on rebounding offensively and I think we’ve improved on that,” said Cavallaro, adding that his team stands to get tougher tests when it faces taller teams.
Shelton held Bunnell without a point through one quarter of play, leading 23-0 after eight minutes, and led 36-4 at halftime, with the Bulldogs settling for points on free throws through two quarters of play.
When Bunnell did manage decent looks, shots simply weren’t falling. The opposite was the case for Shelton. Adler banked home a buzzer-beating 3-poiner at the end of the second quarter; she had all 10 of her points in the first half.
Bunnell’s Ryane Newall scored the first basket from the field when she converted off an offensive rebound with 3:15 to go in the third quarter, making it a 40-6 score. Alyssa Wright added another bucket later in the quarter for Bunnell.
All 10 Shelton participants were strong on defense, led by the efforts of Flood, Skoronski and Roberts, Cavallaro noted. The Shelton coach noted that Skoronski was strong at the point double team efforts also minimized Bunnell’s chances.
“We played really good defense. We didn’t give them too many shots. We worked really hard on defense — we played hard,” said Cavallaro, adding that the Gaels scored a handful of baskets before the Bulldogs managed to get off a shot attempt to start the game.
The key to Shelton’s top-notch defensive effort: “I think it’s just communication really – working as a team,” said Roberts, a senior captain. “We work hard.”