BOYS BASKETBALL: Lyman Hall remains unbeaten with rivalry win over Sheehan; McDonnell passes 1,000

BOYS BASKETBALL: Lyman Hall remains unbeaten with rivalry win over Sheehan; McDonnell passes 1,000

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WALLINGFORD — Sheehan senior Jack McDonnell became his team’s sixth all-time 1,000-point scorer with a layup in the opening minute of the second quarter Monday night.

But it was Lyman that ultimately owned the show in Wallingford’s first rivalry tilt of the season.

Ty Voisine paced LH with 13 points and Justin Hackett finished with 12 points and nine rebounds as the unbeaten Trojans improved to 4-0 on the season with a 47-35 victory over visiting Sheehan.

“This is a huge win for the program,” Voisine said. “We haven’t started this well in years and to beat them by a decent amount is huge.

“We had to stop their best players and slow the game down and play our game. We hit our free throws and won the game.”

In addition to the scoring, Lyman Hall’s aggressive 2-3 zone defense was a thorn in Sheehan’s side all night.

“It was a great win,” LH coach Rob Ruys said. “The defense was stellar again and I’m really proud of these guys. Sheehan battled us and we are happy for Jack for getting his 1,000th point. He’s a hard-working kid.

“Our defense is very active this year and everyone understands their responsibility,” Ruys added. “It’s a lot of work, but this is a good group of kids and they come to practice and work hard every day. They really want this.”

Following McDonnell’s milestone hoop, which the Titans up 8-6, the Trojans reeled off 13 unanswered points and eventually took a 19-12 lead into the half.

The Titans took two leads in the third quarter, but ultimately it was the hosts who pulled away behind a balanced scoring attack.

Kyron Coviello, who scored a team-high 14 points for Sheehan, opened the third quarter with five straight buckets. Two were nifty reverse layups.

Coviello’s third hoop cut the deficit to 19-18 with 5:48 to go in the third and forced a LH timeout.

Sheehan took its first lead since McDonnell’s milestone bucket with 4:08 left in the third quarter. It came on Coviello’s fifth straight bucket to open the quarter. 

Lyman Hall’s Cam Pragano (6 points) responded with 3-pointer to put the Trojans back on top. 

Alex Morales (8 points) hit a trey for Sheehan that made it 29-28 Titans with 59 seconds remaining in the third. Lyman Hall responded with a 10-0 run that included a pair of steals and a 3-pointer by Hackett as the Trojans went up 38-29.

“I thought our defense was pretty good. We held them to 47 points. That was one of our prime concerns. But when you score 34, you aren’t going to win many games,” Sheehan coach Joe Gaetano said. “We put them on the line too much and we didn’t attack the basket enough.

“In the third quarter we started getting the ball into Ky and got on a roll, but we drifted away from that,” Gaetano added. “But that’s Lyman Hall’s kind of game: in the 30’s and 40’s.”

Evan Smith hit a trey as the LH lead expanded to double digits with two minutes to go, and the Trojans hit enough free throws down the stretch to keep it out of reach for Sheehan.

“It’s surreal; it’s been a while since we beat them,” LH co-captain Luke O'Reardon said. “We knew we had the better team. We just had to perform. Justin and I did well on the boards and this was a big win for us. It’s been a while since we were 4-0, but things are changing around here.”

O’Reardon finished with seven points and eight rebounds.

McDonnell finished with eight points for Sheehan (2-3). In reaching the 1,000-point milestone, McDonnell joined Jason Freeman (1995), Joe Gaetano Jr. (1999), Jay Townsend (2002), Phil Gaetano (2010) and Garrett Molampy (2020) as one of the Titans’ most prolific scorers.

“It’s an honor to be put up there with a former teammate and other guys I have looked up to since I was in fourth and fifth grade,” McDonnell said. “I would come to the Sheehan gym and hoped some day I would do it if I worked hard enough. It’s really a dream come true.”

Gaetano said he was happy his two-year captain elipsed 1,000 after finishing one point short in a loss at home to Jonathan Law on Saturday night.

“I’m glad he did it,” Gaetano said. “He’s one of the two hardest working players I’ve ever coached. He deserves this.”

The Titans are wearing a “CG” patch on their warmup jerseys to honor Coach Gaetano’s wife, Cathy, who passed away in December.

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