Coaches encourage teams to get a stop on the defensive end to halt a run by their opponent.
When Shelton High took a double-digit lead after one quarter in its SCC boys basketball game against East Haven, all the Gaels had to do in their 87-65 victory was match points the rest of the way with the visiting Yellow Jackets at the Vincent J. Murray Gym on Friday night.
Shelton improved to 4-1. East Haven is 3-2.
“Thankfully, we have the guys that can score,” Shelton coach Brin Gardiner said. “We didn’t play well on defense; we didn’t stop them. It’s nice to have the best player on the floor in Brian Berritto.”
Berritto, Shelton’s 6-2 senior, displayed those skills with a 26-point, 10-rebound, six-assist night. If he wasn’t enough, Peri Basimakopoulos had a 13-point third quarter to hold off a strong comeback bid by the Easties. He finished with 23.
“We couldn’t outscore them,” East Haven coach Ricky Narracci said. “We talked about that coming in. We have to play our games in the fifties and sixties. We just don’t have their firepower.”
What the Yellow Jackets had was the ability to make the extra pass.
They trailed 24-13 after one period, outscored Shelton 21-20 in the second quarter and stayed with one point at 20-19 of their rival in the third.
Seven players scored points in that second stanza, with Hunter Santana (17 points) and Alias Ford leading with five points each. Nate Furina had three assists while Ian Reynolds and Santana knocked down 3-pointers.
East Haven got within three points on Shane Franklin’s bucket, but Shelton scored 7-of-8 possessions to end the half. Jakai Barnes began the skein with a three-point play off an offensive rebound and Berritto’s three-pointer off the dribble was the final tally in the half.
In the third quarter, Basimakopoulos began his personal scoring streak innocently enough with a free throw. The senior then earned a three-point play in traffic. Consecutive three-pointers followed.
Brian Belade (16 points) hit a trey of his own and Berritto, who had six points in the frame, also handed out three assists.
“We win with our seven players in the rotation,” Gardiner said. “Kevin Belden is a captain and was strong on the defensive boards (five rebounds). Martin (Dominguez) is in on everything and Mel (Kolenovic) gave us plays inside that we needed.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Peri Basimakopoulos was timely with his 3-pointers, but it was Brian Berritto whose overall excellence led Shelton.
“Brian Berritto is the best player on the floor. He gets to the basket, knows what he is supposed to do. Brian is playing every game with a purpose and is someone special.” — Brian Gardiner
SHELTON 87, EAST HAVEN 61
East Haven (61)
Hunter Santana 7 0-0 17, Alias Ford 4 0-0 9, Nate Furino 5 0-0 10, Ian Reynolds 2 0-0 6, Jason Giaparda 3 0-0 6, Asaiah Ford 0 0-0 0, Shane Franklin 4 0-1 9, Joe Brown 1 0-0 2, Nick Furino 2 0-0 4, Trey Garea 1 0-0 2; Totals: 29 0-1 65
Brian Berritto 11 3-4 26, Brian Belade 6 1-2 16, Peri Basimakopoulos 7 6-7 23, Martin Dominguez 2 0-0 4, Kevin Belden 1 0-0 2, Jakai Barnes 3 2-3 9, Melvin Kolenovic 3 1-1 7 Totals: 33 13-17 87
EAST HAVEN 13 21 19 12 — 61
SHELTON 24 20 24 19 — 87
3-point goals: East Haven (Santana 3, Alias Ford 1, Reynolds 2, Franklin 1); Shelton (Berritto 1, Belade 3, Basimakopoulos 3, Barnes 1)