Pierre, Vohra lead Shelton girls into state quarterfinals
Shelton’s Clarissa Pierre and Leya Vohra combined for 29 points and 21 rebounds as the 11th-seeded Shelton Gaelettes rolled past 27th-seeded Fairfield Warde, 50-34, in a Class LL second round game at Murray Gymnasium Thursday night.
Shelton advances to Monday’s quarterfinals where it will host 19th-seeded Hamden in a rematch of last week’s Southern Connecticut Conference tournament semifinal game that was won by the Green Dragons, 56-49.
The Gaelettes (19-6), who never trailed, got off to quick starts at the beginning of the game and the third quarter.
Vohra (game-high 16 points, 11 rebounds), scored five points and assisted on a Devan Wildman bucket as Shelton shot out of the gate with a 9-0 run to start the game. She had a lay-up and two assists as the Gaelettes opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run.
“The start of the game and the start of the third quarter, that changed the complexity of the game,” said Fairfield Warde coach Dave Danko.
The Mustangs (9-13) had their moments, including an 11-2 run to answer Shelton’s 9-0 run. Three-point-shooting keyed the run, as Aleysha Henry, Maya Henry (team-high 12 points) and Toni Lamparski each knocked down treys to help the Mustangs tie the score at 11 late in the first quarter.
But after hitting three of their first four attempts from beyond the arc, Fairfield Warde made just 2-of-14 the rest of the game.
“We obviously got off to a great start, then we had some trouble defending their threes,” said Shelton coach Joe Cavallaro. “Once we defended their threes better, it took them out of their game. I thought we played good defense the last three quarters.”
Still, the Mustangs trailed by just six points, 26-20, at the intermission after an Aleysha Henry buzzer-beating trey to end the first half.
Shelton, which took just 3 three-pointers on the night and didn’t make any, continued to attack the basket in the second half.
Wildman fed Vohra in the lane for a lay-up on the opening possession of the third quarter, and Ashia Askew (11 points) converted a driving-layup as Shelton extended its lead to double digits, 30-20. Minutes later, Vohra set up Pierre for a lay-up to cap a 10-2 Shelton run and extend the lead to 36-22 midway through the third quarter.
Warde would get to within eight points, 42-34, on a Carolyn Mills’ free throw with 4:09 left in the game. But Shelton broke the press on its next possession, with Askew taking a pass from Pierre in for a lay-up to start an 8-0 Shelton run to end the game.
“When we broke their press, most of the time we got lay-ups. Leya was great breaking the press, by herself most of the time,” said Cavallaro. “She attacked the basket really well. She’s a leader.”
Cavallaro also credited Pierre, who has been a steady influence in the paint on both sides of the court for Shelton all season. “She did a great job underneath and did a great job on defensive rebounds. She’s been rebounding all season long,” he said of his 5’11” junior. “She played really well.”
For the Mustangs, trying to post their second upset of the week, not enough 3-pointers fell.
Danko was happy with the effort: “They gave me more than 100 per cent.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Leya Vohra, the shortest player on the court, and Clarissa Pierre, the tallest, each played 32 minutes and made big play after big play for the Gaelettes. The highlight for the dynamic duo was a pretty give-and-go late in the second quarter with Vohra feeding Pierre for a lay-up.
“Every game we say, set the momentum right now. Be focused from the beginning of the game, and I feel that’s exactly what we did today.” - Shelton senior point guard Leya Vohra
Shelton’s 19 wins this season are its most since 1995-1996.
SHELTON 50, FAIRFIELD WARDE 34
Warde 12 8 9 5 -- 34
Shelton 17 9 14 10 -- 50
Fairfield Warde (9-13)
Toni Lamparski 1 0-0 3 Teagan Tully 2 1-2 5 Maya Henry 4 2-2 12 Aleysha Henry 2 1-2 7 Carolyn Mills 3 1-4 7 Nhyira Owusu Asante 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 5-10 34
Leya Vohra 7 2-9 16 Reem Abdel-Hack 0 0-0 0 Clarissa Pierre 6 1-3 13 Keira O’Connor 1 1-2 3 Devan Wildman 3 1-2 7 Ashia Askew 5 1-2 11 Emily Sandin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 22 5-18 50
3-pointers: FW - Lamparski, M. Henry (2) A. Henry (2); S - none.