The Shelton High boys basketball closed out the regular season with a 53-48 road win over Branford High on Monday night at the James L MacVeigh Alumni Athletic Complex.
Jeff Stockmal led the Gaels (10-10) with 18 points, while Casey Belade added 15 and Matt Terrasi 14. Stockmal’s driving layup with 1:28 left in regulation snapped a 48-46 deadlock. Shelton then helped itself by hitting 5-of-6 from the foul line in the final minute to seal the victory.
Shelton, which snapped a three-game losing streak, will face No. 3 seed Wilbur Cross on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in New Haven in the opening round of the Southern Connecticut Conference tournament. The Governors (17-3) beat the Gaels twice in the regular-season, both times by double digits.
Richard Jacobson’s 3-pointer with two minutes left, on the heels of back-to-back Shelton turnovers, before Stockmal gave the Gaels the lead for good.
A jumper from Stockmal and layup by Belade, off a Stockmal assist, staked Shelton to a 23-20 halftime edge. Shelton pushed its advantage to 36-27 on Belade’s free throws with 1:18 left in the third quarter, but the Hornets (8-12) battled back on their Senior Night.
They never regained the edge they held in the first half, as Shelton halted its skid heading into the postseason.
Jacobson notched 14 points for Branford, Jake Sullivan added 10 and Korey King had nine. The Hornets, seeded No. 11 in the SCC tournament, will square off with sixth-seeded Xavier High in Middletown on Thursday at 6:30.