Boys basketball: Unbeaten Shelton wins tourney opener
Peri Basimakopoulos completed an outstanding fourth quarter with a 3-pointer in the final minute to give Shelton High a 63-61 victory over Southington in the first round of the New Canaan Holiday Tournament on Thursday.
“We are lucky to have good guards,” Shelton coach Brian Gardiner said after his team improved to 3-0. “They were all over Brian Berritto and Peri knocked them down.”
Basimakopoulos scored 13 consecutive points for the Gaels in the final period and finished with 25. He made three consecutive treys,
Berritto was effective in every quarter and scored 22 points.
Kevin Belden had six assists, three of them coming in the final frame.
Martin Dominguez assisted on Basimakopoulos’ go-ahead trey with 49 seconds left.
Southington (1-3) had two more looks at the basket, but couldn’t get a shot to fall.
“We scouted them twice and I looked at them on tape,” Gardiner said of the Blue Knights. “They play with such discipline and run such exact sets. We weren’t great tonight, but we were good enough.”
The game was tied 10 times, the last coming on Adam Hunter’s basket that made it 59-all.
Shelton’s Brian Belade hit a free throw, but Hunter (14 points) tallied inside for a 61-60 Southington lead with 1:17 to play.
The Gaels ran a weave at the top of the key, before Dominguez handed off to Basimakopoulos for what was the winning basket.
The game was tied at 16 after one quarter.
Southington made 4-of-9 from three-point range in the period.
Shelton played well off the dribble and got key contributions late in the stanza from Jakai Barnes.
“Jakai played his best game thus far,” Gardiner said of his senior guard. “He was in there for two spurts that gave us a lift.”
Melvin Kolenovic’s block led to a Berritto breakaway, and Barnes’ steal and run-out bucket tied the game at 16.
Shelton switched to a man defense to slow Southington’s perimeter game in the second quarter.
Barnes assisted on Kolenovic’s hoop off the dribble to start the period.
Basimakopoulos drew a charge at one end and he and Berritto traded basket/assists down the other.
Berritto’s transition basket off Belden’s defensive rebound ended a two-minute scoreless streak for the Gaels, and gave them a 29-27 lead one minute before intermission.
Shelton was 0-for-4 shooting the 3-pointer in the third quarter, but made up for it by going 7-for-10 on two-pointers.
Southington scored a buzzer-beater inside to hold a 45-43 lead after three.
Jared Kelly 5 1-1 13, Jake Napoli 3 0-0 7, Billy Wadolowski 4 1-1 9, Colin Burdette 2 0-0 5, Ryan Gesnaldo 3 2-2 9, Adam Hunter 7 0-0 14, Jacob Flynn 2 0-0 4
Totals: 26 3-4 61
Brian Berritto 10 1-4 22, Brian Belade 1 1-3 3, Peri Basimakopoulos 8 5-6 25, Martin Dominguez 1 1-2 3, Kevin Belden 2 0-0 4, Jakai Barnes 2 0-0 4, Melvin Kolenovic 1 0-0 2
Totals: 26 8-15 63
Southington 16 11 18 16 - 61
Shelton 16 13 14 20 - 63
Halftime: Shelton 29, Southington 27
3-point goals: Southington (Kelly 2, Napoli 1, Burdette 1, Gesnaldo 2); Shelton (Berritto 1, Basimakopoulos 4)