Boys basketball: Shelton rallies to defeat East Haven

Despite trailing by as many as 12 the Shelton Gaels staged a fourth quarter comeback to defeat the East Haven Yellowjackets, 50-46, in an SCC road game on Friday.

“Last time we played them it was the same thing,” said Shelton coach Brian Gardiner. “We had to come back and force overtime. They (East Haven) played very well. They controlled the tempo. We shot badly, which allowed that to happen. We finally got aggressive and they got out of their rhythm offensively.”

Jeff Stockmal led the Gaels with 18 points while Brian Berritto added 15 points. East Haven’s Nick Guarino led all scorers with 20 points while Edward Popolizio added 10.

Shelton got out to an early lead thanks to a three from Ryan Murphy and four points from Armando Martinez. The Yellow Jackets answered with a 9-3 run on five points from Guarino while Murphy added a second 3-pointer for the Gaels.

After a Guarino three and a Popolizio layup, the Gaels answered in the second quarter with two shots from Stockmal and a layup from David Berritto. Brian Berritto followed his brother with a three-point play off a layup to tie the game at 17.

Nate Furino followed with a three-point play for East Haven, before Guarino and Stockmal traded foul shots to give the Yellow Jackets a 22-20 at the half.

After Stockmal began the third period with a layup, Jeremiah Cureton and Guarino each nailed threes. Stockmal followed with a three-point play to make it, 28-25. The Yellow Jackets then took off on a 12-3 run. As the seconds were waning in the third quarter, Matt Hunyadi nailed a three-point shot from the corner to make it a nine-point deficit for the Gaels entering the fourth.

“You don’t think so at the time,” Gardiner said. “We were down 12 at that point, but that was a big three because it gave us a little bit of momentum going into the fourth quarter. We stepped up our defense and got fast breaks as a result.”

The Gaels fed off of that momentum and scored the first 10 points in the fourth quarter. Stockmal scored half of those points for Shelton.

The Yellow Jackets finally answered with three minutes to go, when Guarino hit a three-point shot. Brian Berritto answered that with a three-point play and Stockmal made a layup to make it 46-43.

Guarino followed that with a jump shot and Berritto went to the line twice in the final minute, making all four shots to seal the comeback victory, 50-46.

In the next two weeks, Shelton has four games left against SCC opponents before the conference and state tournaments.

Gardiner said, “Our goal is to get a home game in the state tournament, so we’re going to have to take care of these games coming up.”

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