WALLINGFORD — Sheehan boys basketball is primed for a big season, but in an unforgiving SCC Housatonic, a few bumps in the road were to be expected.
The Titans’ first two defeats of the season came against Notre Dame-West Haven and Xavier-Middletown. The Falcons outlasted Sheehan 80-79 in a double overtime epic on Monday night.
“It was a very good game with two very good teams,” Sheehan coach Joe Gaetano said Tuesday. “We gave up 54 points in the second half and you aren’t going to win may games giving up 80. I wasn’t happy with our defense in the second half.”
The Titans had a season-best 35 points from Garrett Molampy in defeat. The senior’s performance included seven 3-pointers.
The Titans were in control for much of the uptempo game, played in Wallingford. They held a 10-point lead at the half.
Foul trouble became an issue down the stretch. Junior standout Jack McDonnell and senior forward Kris Jackson, both of whom finished with 14 points, fouled out late in the fourth quarter.
Sheehan was leading in the fourth quarter before the Falcons forced overtime. The game was tied 68-68 after the end of regulation and 72-72 after the first OT.
Xavier's Stephen Kohs paced the Falcons with 34 points, including five 3’s. Andrew Brown added 23 for Xavier.
“They made some big shots,” Gaetano said. “Kohs had a tremendous night. They beat us up inside a little with their center (Brown).
“We just gave up too many points. There’s nothing wrong with our offense. We played hard and created a lot of turnovers, but they would seem to find an open shot or a putback when they needed it.”
Gaetano said he got the uptempo game he had hoped for against Xavier.
“They are a talented team,” Gaetano said. “My kids played extremely hard. We need to execute better offensively and defensively. Sometimes we get out of sync and go off course. We need to get them to understand that we have a game plan for a reason and to stick to it.
“When you have as many good players as we have, it’s easy for that to happen. We have to play within our game plan and execute.”
Sheehan (6-2, 0-2 SCC Housatonic) will have rematches with Notre Dame (8-0, 2-0 Housy) and Xavier (6-1, 2-0) on the road later in the season. Sheehan has yet to see divisional foes Fairfield Prep and East Haven.
Next up for the Titans is Shelton at home on Thursday. The Titans downed the Gaels in the Valley 62-44 on opening night. However, Shelton has won five in a row after dropping their first three contests of the season. Jackson had 34 in Sheehan’s first meeting with Shelton.
“From here, we go back to practice and work on our deficiencies and get back in the win column,” Gaetano said. “This is a resilient team. It’s not like we’ve lost to chopped liver. These are two large private schools and last night’s game was for the taking. We had a lead and we have to build on it to win those games.
“My kids work their tails off,” the coach added. “When we lose, I feel it’s because we expend so much energy. We have to tighten up and take care of the little things.”