For the ninth straight season, Sheehan has qualified for the SCC and state tournaments. The Titans did so with a 48-43 win over then No. 7 East Haven last Wednesday in Wallingford.
“We played very well on Wednesday,” Sheehan coach Mike Busillo said. “We’re excited to get that eighth win and hopefully we will win a few more and climb the ladder, so to speak.”
A team must win at least eight games to qualify for the state tournament. Sheehan (8-6) is in Class L. Every SCC team that qualifies for the state tournament earns an automatic berth in the league tournament.
“It gives you an opportunity to play another game instead of trying to go out and get a scrimmage,” Busillo said. “It helps you keep that competitive edge.”
The Titans advanced to the SCC quarterfinals in 2016 and 2014 and to the semifinals in 2015.
“One of our goals is to get to the quarterfinals every year,” Busillo said.
Sheehan lost to Hillhouse 46-31 on Friday, the second time the Titans have lost to the Academics this season.
“Sometimes it’s kind of like boxing,” Busillo said. “It’s about how you matchup. Hillhouse is a difficult matchup for us. They outplayed us and certainly deserved to beat us that night.”
Although Busillo is pleased with his team’s effort so far this season, the Titans have struggled at times with consistency.
“We talk about trying to be consistent every game and we try to consistently get better,” Busillo said. “It’s something we talk about a lot. I don’t know if we found that consistency yet, we’ve been a little uneven at times. At times it looks like it’s come together, and at other times it looks like we’ve taken a step back. We’ve been competitive, which I am pleased with. I am not displeased.”
Leading the way for Sheehan has been senior Kaitlin Lagase, a four-year starter, junior Lexi Ocasio and sophomore Olivia Robles.
Lagase isn’t the team’s main scoring threat, but she contributes in all facets of the game.
“She’s very important to what we do,” Busillo said. “She has a real good grasp, especially on the defensive end, of what we try to do. Her impact cannot be understated. Some of the success we’ve had in the last three or four years, she has been a big part of it.”
Robles has taken on an expanded role this season.
“She’s becoming more and more comfortable with her role,” Busillo said.
Ocasio did not play against East Haven nor Hillhouse and may be sidelined for the rest of the season with a leg injury.
“We’re kind of adjusting to life without her,” Busillo said.
SHA honors two
On Jan. 18, Sacred Heart Academy honored former players Lisa Stamos Heerdt and the late Jackie D’Andrea Heins for their selection to the first Connecticut all-state team in 1975. Their names were added to a banner to commemorate the honor.
The ceremony took place as part of an annual coaches vs. cancer event held at the school. D’Andrea Heins passed away in November from cancer.
“We honored two alums who made all-state,” Sacred Heart Academy athletic director George Bedocs said. “We didn’t have banners at the time, so now their names were added to a banner with the names of the other players who made all-state. We were happy to honor Jackie and Lisa because, at her request, all donations in lieu of flowers were sent to Sacred Heart Academy.”
Bedocs said the school raised $405 the night of the event. The Sharks defeated Lyman Hall 57-41.
“It was a very successful evening,” Bedocs said. “We had one of the biggest crowds of the year, everything went according to plan.”
Stamos Heerdt and D’Andrea Heins first met during basketball tryouts freshman year at Sacred Heart Academy and remained friends.
Stamos Heerdt, originally from Ansonia, tried out for the UConn women’s basketball team as a walk-on and eventually became the starting point guard before injuries ended her collegiate career.