WALLINGFORD — Lyman Hall boys basketball came into 2021 with high expectations and the Trojans are backing that up with a fast start.
LH improved to 2-0 on the season with a 52-40 victory over Branford in its home opener on Friday night.
As in the 42-39 season-opening win at Hand on Wednesday, the Trojans were paced by a game-high 18 points by senior point guard Ty Voisine. LH also excelled with a pressure zone defense in both victories.
On Friday night, Voisine was followed in scoring by Brady Campbell (8 points), Jayden Collingham (6), Justin Hackett (5) and Luke O'Reardon (5).
Hackett and O'Reardon also had strong games on the boards for the Trojans, who never trailed.
“This was a great win for us,” LH coach Rob Ruys said. “We are playing solid defense and that’s becoming our identity. We want to be a team to be dealt with on the defensive end. We will get better on offense.”
Lyman Hall held a 27-19 lead at the half. The Trojans started the game by hitting their first three shots to take an immediate 7-0 lead. Collingham scored twice in the opening minute from close range and Campbell drilled a trey.
Branford freshman Jake Palluzzi (9 points) scored Branford’s first five points of the game against an aggressive LH zone defense and Tucker Jacobson tied the game for Branford, 7-7.
Then Lyman Hall exploded on a 13-2 run that spilled well into the second quarter. Voisine put the Trojans up 20-9 with 5:02 left in the first half. A driving layup capped the rally, which also featured 3-balls by Campbell and Evan Smith.
Branford responded with a 10-2 run. All of the points were provided by senior Justin Elpi, who drilled two 3-pointers that closed the visitors to within 22-19.
Lyman Hall ended the half on a 5-0 run that included a pair of buckets in the paint by Hackett.
Elpi (15 points) stayed hot right out of the break with a quick trey as the Hornets used a 5-0 spurt to get back within 27-24.
The Trojans didn’t make their first field goal of the second half until Voisine converted a jumper assisted by O'Reardon. The hoop put the Trojans up 33-28.
O'Reardon, a senior forward, established himself in the paint in the third quarter. He had LH’s final two baskets of the frame, which closed with the home team ahead 37-30.
Voisine connected on a pair of transition layups to start the fourth quarter as the lead expanded into double figures. Voisine carried the Trojans in the fourth quarter with seven points and three steals as LH collected its second win to start the season.
“Confidence goes up when you win games and our confidence is up,” Ruys said. “I knew this team was talented enough to get the job done and they’ve been getting the job done, especially on the defensive end.”
“I think we played well as a team,” Voisine said. “We didn’t struggle under their pressure and that’s what got us the win. It’s huge for us to start 2-0. I like where the team is going. We are going in the right direction.”
The Hornets, who won 71-49 at Hamden in their opener on Wednesday, fell to 1-1.
“Lyman Hall outworked us,” Branford coach Chris Burnham said. “They did a very nice job gaining extra possessions, which is something we didn’t do. We had missed free throws and missed layups when we were down two. Eventually, they stretched it out when we started to take some chances. They put us in a tough spot.”