Girls basketball: Vikings sail past Gaelettes in opener

The Shelton High girls basketball team had no answer for Westhill High of Stamford’s Lyanna Lops in the season opener for both teams on Monday night at Murray Gymnasium.

Lops, a 6-foot sophomore forward, poured in a game-high 21 points to power the Vikings to a 52-39 non-league win over coach Joe Cavallaro’s Gaelettes.

Lops asserted herself in every phase of the game, as her scoring, rebounding and defense helped Westhill erase an early 12-6 deficit.

A pair of putbacks, the latter which resulted in a three-point play, by Lops got the Vikings to within a point with 1:26 left in the first quarter.

Grace Hansen then sank a jumper at the 31-second mark of the frame, staking Westhill to a lead it would not relinquish.

Turnovers hampered Shelton all night, as it committed 20 overall. Twelve of those turnovers came in the first quarter, preventing the Gaelettes from building on an impressive start.

Emmeline Bronson scored in transition off an assist from Kayla Resto, before Casey O’Connor set up Sarah Skoronski for an and-one layup to give Shelton an early 5-0 edge.

Baskets from Hansen and Lops helped Westhill narrow the gap to 9-6, until Maggie Howard answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing 4:09 left in the first.

Lops’ three-point play then ignited a 13-6 run that spanned the entire second quarter, allowing the Vikings to seize control of the contest.

Trailing by 14 points after Gabby Laccona’s jumper to start the fourth quarter, Shelton put together its final charge.

Howard connected on a 3-pointer and Skoronski hit a pair of free throws and a three to get Shelton within 39-33.

Lops stopped the 8-0 Gaelettes’ flurry with a layup and O’Connor countered with two foul shots on the other end.

Shelton got the stop it needed on the ensuing Westhill possession, but Kyah Nowlin’s offensive rebound and putback extended the Viking margin to 43-35.

From there, Westhill closed out the game on 11-4 run to seal the opening-night victory.

Shelton hosts Foran High on Friday night at 7.

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