Stingy defense and timely rebounding helped the Shelton High girls basketball team break a fourth quarter tie and hang on for a 48-42 victory over Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden in the championship game of the Shelton Holiday Tournament Thursday night.
Tied 39-39 after having lost a 10-point first-half lead, senior Sarah Skoronski gave the Gaelettes the lead for good with a steal and lay-up 1:15 into the fourth quarter.
But the final 6:45 was anything but easy.
“We thought if we got our share of rebounds, we would win,” said Shelton coach Joe Cavallaro. “In the fourth quarter, we did.”
The Gaelettes (3-2) grabbed 11 of their 28 rebounds in the fourth quarter, and held the Sharks (3-3) to just two-of-16 shooting to earn the victory.
Perhaps the most important rebound came on the offensive glass.
Up 45-42, Skoronski missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:20 left, but Casey O’Connor grabbed one of her nine rebounds on the night to keep possession for Shelton.
Skoronski would get fouled again with 54 seconds left, and this time, she made both to make it a two-possession game, 47-42.
Skoronski added another free throw and Sacred Heart Academy did not score again for the final margin of victory.
Skoronski (39 points and eight steals in two tournament games) was named to the All-Tournament team, and O’Connor (44 points) was named Most Valuable Player.