GIRLS BASKETBALL: With Jagrosse back in the lineup, Sheehan gains revenge on Cheshire



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WALLINGFORD — Sheehan standout center Darla Jagrosse was bottled up for three points and one rebound in the first half of Thursday’s SCC Housatonic basketball showdown with Cheshire.

Then came the second half.

Jagrosse erupted and led the Titans to a big second half in a 59-45 victory over the Rams.

Jagrosse and sophomore point guard Liv Cassesse both had team-high 20-point performances for the Titans.

“I was a little off in the first half," Jagrosse said. “We talked about getting more energy on the floor and ways to get me the ball. It feels great to be 9-5 on the season.”

The scoring output for Cassesse was a career high.

“It was great to get a career high tonight," Cassesse said. “We really wanted this game after losing to them the first time.”

Sheehan coach Mike Busillo said Cassesse has a scorer’s mentality.

“She does a great job running the point," Busillo said. “She has a great way about her. She’s played all but two minutes in the last three games. She leads the team in minutes this year.”

Madison DiPasquale added 10 points for the Titans (9-5, 1-4, Housy).

Cheshire (6-6, 2-2 Housy) was paced by senior Grace Lurz’s 20 points. Amelia Perlini added 12 for the Rams.

It was the Rams who won the first meeting between the two teams earlier this month, 49-30, in Cheshire. It was Cheshire’s first win over Sheehan since 2016.

The Titans were without Jagrosse that night. The senior missed two weeks with an ankle injury.

On Thursday, the SCC Housatonic foes were tied 20-20 at the half. The biggest separation up until that time either way was four points.

Lurz started the game with a successful 3-ball on Cheshire’s first shot attempt of the game. It set the tone for a big game for the senior, who had 10 points at the break.

Cheshire led 9-5 after the first quarter. Neither team was lighting it up from the field. Sheehan was 2-for-13 and Cheshire 2-for-9 in the first quarter.

Sheehan never led until the 2:42 point of the second quarter, when Cassesse drained a 3-pointer that put Sheehan up 16-14.

Cassesse’s trey came just a minute after DiPasquale hit one to tie the game, 13-13.

Cassesse canned two out of three from the charity stripe to help Sheehan take its biggest lead of the first half, 20-16.

Cheshire tied it 20-20 in the final 40 seconds with a driving layup by Ella Kulas and a pair of free throws by Perlini. 

The Rams were hurt by 14 turnovers in the half. Sheehan had nine. Sheehan was also just 2-for-7 from the foul line in the opening 16 minutes. Cheshire was 9-for-13.

“I thought Cheshire was playing harder than we were in the first half," Busillo said. “They were more physical than we were. We tried to switch the energy up in the second half. We did a better job working the ball into Darla in the second half and that helped everyone relax a little bit.”

Sheehan came out hot in the second half, blitzing to an immediate 15-6 run. Sheehan went inside to Jagrosse for the first few possesions, and Cassesse and Molly Smolenski (5 points) had 3’s in the run as Sheehan went up 35-26.

Perlini got hot for the Rams, scoring the final 10 Cheshire points of the third. She capped the stanza by swishing a jumper from just inside the arc as time expired. Sheehan led 41-36 after three quarters.

The fourth quarter was all Sheehan. Jagrosse, in her third game back from injury, had 10 points in the frame as Sheehan went on a 14-2 run to go up 55-40 after Lurz opened the quarter with a bucket for Cheshire.

Cheshire coach Angelica Ariola said Sheehan is tough to face, especially at full strength.

“They are a really powerful team," Ariola said. “They stuck to their game plan and did a great job. We had some foul trouble tonight and we were without one of our starters (Tess Givens).

“The kids have come in and made a statement this year and have made all of the games competitive,” Ariola added. 

Busillo said his former assistant at Sheehan is doing well at Cheshire.

“Angelica is doing a great job," Busillo said. “They whooped us the first time and tonight they made things very difficult for us and, hopefully, it makes us better.”

Sheehan was coming off of a 55-43 win over East Haven. The win was the 200th of Busillo’s career.

“I’ve been fortunate to coach some really good girls,” Busillo said. “We have a good program, but you don't have a good program without good kids. You won’t win games. Anyone that has stood on the sideline knows it’s all about the players.

“I’ve been lucky with kids who have been willing to get coached by me. Sometimes I can be demanding and a pain in the butt.”



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