Girls basketball: Shooting woes haunt Shelton in loss

Thursday night’s game is one Shelton High would like to forget about. Quickly.

Fortunately, the Gaelettes will lace ‘em up again tomorrow night against Hamden.

It won’t be an easy game  — Hamden is 13-2 and ranked 6th in the state — but it will at least allow Shelton to get the bad taste from its 44-24 road loss to Lyman Hall in Wallingford out of its mouth.

It wasn’t that Shelton (8-8) lacked effort against the Trojans, but he Gaelettes just weren’t hitting shots they normally make, shooting 22 percent from the floor (11-of-50) and 14 percent from the free throw line (1-of-7).

“It wasn’t one of our better nights,” Shelton coach Joe Cavallaro said. But he’s optimistic that it was an anomaly. “Their attitude was fine,” he said. “The cheered each other on and worked at the end. It was just one of those nights.”

Shelton, which beat Lyman Hall 50-47 three weeks ago, led early but the lead could have been bigger. The Gaelettes made just 4-of-17 first quarter shots, with most of the misses coming from close range.

The shorter Trojans (7-9) were largely content to shoot from the outside, and started to warm-up midway through the first quarter. Lyman Hall made four treys in a span of less than eight minutes to take the lead for good, 15-14, with 4:03 left in the first half.

Meanwhile, Shelton’s offensive woes continued. Ball handling was the biggest problem in the second quarter when the locals turned the ball over nine times.

A late free throw and fast break layup extended Lyman Hall’s lead to 18-14 at the intermission.

“As poorly as we played in the first half, if we’d have made a couple more shots, we would have been ahead,” said Cavallaro. “We were still only four down (at the half), but we just didn’t seem to play our game tonight.”

Unfortunately for Shelton, the offensive struggles continued in the second half. Two more Lyman Hall three-pointers extended its lead to double-digits, 24-14.

Twice in the third quarter, Shelton pulled to within eight points on shots by Mackenzie Joyce (6 points, 7 rebounds). That was as close as it would get as the Trojans outscored the Gaelettes 14-2 in the final quarter to coast to the victory.

“Shooting, or missing, is contagious,” said Cavallaro. “We had shots that we make 9-out-of-10 times, but we missed them.”

Lyman Hall didn’t fare much better, shooting 30 percent from the field (14-of-47) and 40 percent (8-of-20) from the free throw line, but it was enough to beat Shelton on this night.

Kailey Lipka led Lyman Hall with a game-high 20 points.

Cavallaro credited sophomore center Clarissa Pierre, who led Shelton with 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. “I thought Clarissa Pierre had a nice game,” said Cavallaro.

Sophomore Devan Wildman had a solid night off the bench for the Gaelettes with nine rebounds.

Shelton travels to Hamden night for a 7 p.m. tip-off.  The Gaelettes will look to improve upon a 78-40 loss to the Green Dragons earlier this season.

Shelton then returns home for its final three games of the season — against Sacred Heart Academy, North Haven and Hillhouse — with a chance to improve its seeding for the SCC and state tournaments.