Shelton defeats East Haven with ballanced effort
SHELTON — Using its superior size advantage, Shelton bulldozed its way to a 57-31 win over visiting East Haven in a Southern Connecticut Conference boys basketball matchup at Murray Gymnasium on Friday night.
Brian Belade, recently returned from injury, paced the Gaels with 17 points, while Peri Basimakopolous, Melvin Kolenovic and Gavin Rohlman added nine points apiece.
Kolenovic, a 6-foot-8 junior center, also chipped in six rebounds and six blocked shots.
“We were trying to get the pace up and disrupt them,” Shelton head coach Brian Gardiner said. “We needed to speed them into quick shots and if we broke down we had Melvin back there. “That’s a pretty big luxury to have. He altered a lot of shots off of our miscues.”
Shelton (2-3) pulled away in the second quarter, stretching out its lead behind the hot shooting of Belade.
The 6-foot-3 junior swingman poured in 11 points in the period -- knocking down two 3-pointers, converting an old-fashioned three-point play and swooping in for another layup.
“We fought hard and so did they, but we executed well,” Belade said.
Executing its offense in the post was key for the Gaels against an undersized East Haven squad that rostered just one player over 6-feet tall.
“They’re going to give a lot of teams problems,” East Haven head coach Ricky Narracci said. “Not only with their size, but they are just so skilled at every position. They can score from four, five different areas on the floor with every guy.”
Sixteen of Shelton’s 32 first-half points came from inside the paint, with the rest coming from beyond the arc or the free-throw line. Eschewing the lower percentage mid-range shots helped Shelton build an insurmountable 32-12 halftime advantage.
The Yellowjackets were unable to get into any kind of offensive rhythm in the first half.
“We wanted to play a little slower-paced game and limit the possessions, but I thought we did a really poor job of shot selection in the first half,” Narracci said. “We came out and did a much better job in the third quarter.”
East Haven (0-4) put together its best sequence to start the third, with Alias Ford rattling off six points to power an 8-2 Easties’ run. Rohlman then answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, followed by a basket in traffic to push the Gael margin to 39-20.
From there, the rout was on, as Shelton picked up its second-straight lopsided victory after an 0-3 start to the season. The return of Belade, after he missed December defeats to Sheehan (5-0) and Masuk (4-0), has been the catalyst.
“We are not where we need to be yet,” Gardiner said. “But we’re getting there. Belade is almost 100 percent healthy. He makes a big difference. He’s one of the top players in our conference.”
SHELTON 57, EAST HAVEN 31
Ian Reynolds 1 0-0 2 Alias Ford 6 0-0 12 Nick Furano 2 2-2 6 Shea Carasone 3 0-2 6 Shane Franklin 1 0-0 2 Kyle Cusano 1 0-0 3 14 2-4 31
Brian Belade 7 2-2 17 Peri Basimakopolous 3 2-2 9 Melvin Kolenovic 4 1-2 9 Gavin Rohlman 4 0-0 9 Vinny Defeo 2 0-0 4 Logan McLeod 2 0-0 5 Randy Mones 1 0-0 2 Mike Calinan 0 2-2 2 23 6-8 57
EH 6 6 10 9 31
SH 17 15 13 12 57
Records: East Haven 0-4, Shelton 2-3.