Shelton plays, wins, through COVID protocols

Dylan Camp lines up his shot.

Dylan Camp lines up his shot.

Samantha Sepkaski / Contributed photo

For Shelton boys’ basketball coach Brian Gardiner, the decision to play was easy.

Finding a way to compete in the Shelton Holiday Tournament was difficult.

“My philosophy is as long as we have enough guys that are healthy, we are going to play. No one wants to cancel games,” Gardiner said of having seven Gaels out due to health and safety protocols. “These kids have gone through enough the past couple of years. Our players want to play, and they played hard.”

Shelton defeated New Milford 54-34 then lost to New Canaan 45-40.

“We played incredibly hard with the guys we have. We had a great fourth quarter against New Milford and ended up winning by 20,” Gardiner said. “Against New Canaan, which hasn’t lost yet, we had three straight possessions down three but couldn’t make a shot. We were looking to foul, and they scored on a break to make it five points at the end.”

Shelton won every quarter in its victory over New Milford. Vin DeFeo scored 18 points. Dylan Camp had 14 points, Ricky Feola 13 and Jake Gigliotti nine. Camp and Feola each made two 3-pointers. DeFeo knocked down one.

Gardiner said: “In the New Milford game we were able to control tempo. We went up early, had longer possessions and executed. In the fourth quarter, it was an eight-point game. We were able to get stops and fast breaks out of it. Vin DeFeo and Ricky Feola had double-doubles. Vin had 16 rebounds. Ricky had 13 boards and five assists.”

New Canaan’s physical approach led to a low-scoring championship game.

“New Canaan play very good defense and we matched it. There weren’t many fouls,” Gardiner said. “Dylan Camp has been playing very well and scored 12. Vinny had another double-double and finished with 12 points. Ricky Feola scored eight.”

Camp and Feola made two 3-pointers each. Ryan Miressi also knocked down a trey against 4-0 New Canaan.

“Vinny, Ricky, Dylan and Jake Gigliotti, who has been great all season, are leading us,” Gardiner said. “Even though we were limited in the number of guys we had, we sprinkled in a couple kids who didn’t have varsity experience. Cam St. Pierre and Ryan Miressi are sophomores. They were thrown into it and just played hard. We forged on and battled hard. We could have won both games.”

Gardiner has learned another player will be out this week.

“They are all going through return to play protocol and will be back,” he said. “It’s one more week of limited numbers. Then it will be getting them back through conditioning. The good thing is we run the same system at all levels. Everyone knows what we are doing. But getting guys acclimated to playing a ton of varsity minutes you never know they are going to respond game to game.”

Shelton (1-5) is scheduled to be home to Branford Tuesday at 7. Twitter: @blox354