WALLINGFORD – Sheehan overcame a six-point deficit at the half and defeated Weaver 67-58 in the girls basketball season opener for both squads on Tuesday evening.
The Titans hit their free throws down the stretch and held on in a physical out-of-conference contest.
Sheehan senior point guard Lexi Ocasio spent the bulk of the fourth quarter on the line. She connected on 11 of 16 foul shots to salt this one away.
In the bigger picture, Sheehan benefitted from a balanced attack. Ocasio paced it with 21 points. She went 16-for-25 from the line in the game.
Liv Robles was a double-double force in the post. The junior forward put up 16 points and pulled down 10 boards.
Freshman Hayleigh Lagase tallied 11 points in her Titan debut and sophomore Maddie Larkin chipped in with 10 points, including two treys.
The Beavers led 30-24 at the half mainly due to their pressure and rebounding. Tahjae Young poured in a game-high 24 points for the visitors.
“Defensively, they are so athletic and they caused a lot of problems,” Sheehan coach Mike Busillo said. “They rebound like crazy and I think they are really good. We’re really happy to beat them.”
Despite trailing, the Titans were confident going into the break.
“We were only down six and coach came in and motivated us,” Ocasio said. “He said we were in this and we just needed to rebound and make some plays.”
The Titans took a 44-42 lead after a big third quarter. Lagase had nine points in the frame and Robles scored six. Ocasio added five points, including a layup with 55 seconds to go that gave the Titans their biggest lead to that point, 44-37.
Ocasio, a four-year starter, missed much of last year with a knee injury.
“I feel great physically,” Ocasio said. “It’s great to be back on the court.”
Weaver countered with a 7-0 run to tie the game early in the fourth. Tatiana Duncan drilled a 3-ball in that span. She finished 11 points for the Beavers.
Weaver was hurt when sophomore forward Pashan Walker and junior guard Terra Fair fouled out early in the fourth.
That’s when Ocasio went to work from the line. Sheehan went on a decisive 7-1 run mid-way through the fourth. All of the points came from Ocasio as the Titans built their lead up to 57-52.
Carolyn Biel assisted on two Robles layups to seal it.
“Lexi has been here forever,” Busillo said. “I’m just really proud of her. She has a lot of physical issues with her legs and ankles. I’m just really happy for her and the way she played tonight.”
Busillo mentioned before the regular season that his freshman would see minutes and, on opening night, they did. In addition to Lagase, Caitlyn Velez and Caitlyn Hunt were on the floor together in the second quarter.
“I’m proud of our younger girls,” Busillo said. “They got a little bit of a taste. I thought that was a good win against a good team.”
Manchester 39, Maloney 36 (OT): Looking to follow up their season-opening win at home over Hartford Public, the Spartans were nipped in overtime in a CCC interdivisional game in Manchester.
Melanie Polanco had a big night for Maloney (1-1). The senior scored 26 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and snagged three steals.
Shalom Acheampong scored five of her team-high 12 points for Manchester in overtime. Ianez Rose added 11 points for the Indians.
Wilton 79, Cheshire 63:The Rams dropped their season opener in a non-conference game on the road.
Cheshire put four players in double figures. Mia Juodaitis had a team-high 18. Sara Mulligan and Julia Schaff finished with 13 apiece. Emily Yonych added 11.
The final margin wound up mirroring the initial gap. Wilton bolted to a 16-0 lead.