WALLINGFORD — Lyman Hall boys basketball suffered its first defeat of the season in a hard-fought 57-48 SCC East contest with Xavier on the Frederick Schipke Gymnasium floor on Friday night.
Xavier junior guard Justin Menard was hot all night with a team-high 22 points. He hit some big 3-pointers down the stretch to seal it.
Ty Voisine also had a monster game for Lyman Hall (5-1) with a 20-point, 9-steal showing.
Xavier (4-1) used a 14-0 run in the second quarter to open up a 27-14 advantage. The Falcons eventually took a 30-19 lead into the break.
LH never led in the second half, but closed to within two points with 2:57 left in third quarter and inched to within six in the fourth.
Both offenses were stalled by zone defenses in the first quarter. It ended with Xavier up 13-10. At that point, it looked like the first team to 40 would win.
Voisine and Jayden Collingham (9 points) were giving Xavier’s guards fits on top of the zone defense and forced four straight turnovers as LH went on top, 14-13, early in the second quarter.
Xavier coach Michael Kohs called a timeout and expressed his displeasure with his squad’s sloppy play and his team responded with the pivotal 14-0 run. The first 10 points were on four shots over a 1:47 span as the Falcons went up by double digits.
“I tell you what, Lyman Hall is very good defensively,” Kohs said. “They are tough and they play hard. We knew it was going to be a battle coming in.
“Offensviely, we had some careless turnovers, but that’s a credit to them,” Kohs continued. “They filled passing lanes and Voisine is a heck of a player. It’s a great win for us to pick up a road win against a very good Lyman Hall team.”
Menard excelled during the 14-0 run with a layup and trey. The 3-ball was from NBA-range in front of the Lyman Hall bench to force a Lyman Hall timeout with 4:43 to go in the opening half as Xavier’s lead ballooned to 23-13.
The Trojans remained cold out of the stoppage, while shots by Xavier’s Ryan Gazzillo and Ethan Bessoni deepened the hole to 27-14 with 2:57 to go.
Cam Pragano (6 points) gave the Trojans their first field goal in 6:22 with a trey in the closing seconds of the half as the Trojans drew back within 11.
After Xavier’s John Carrozzella hit a 3-pointer to start the second half. Lyman Hall responded with a 7-0 run that included back-to-back hoops by Collingham. Then a block-and-rebound and deep outlet pass to Voisine by Luke O’Reardon (9 points, 9 rebounds) resulted in an easy layup that brought LH within 33-27.
Out of a mask break and Xavier timeout, Lyman Hall’s Brady Campbell drained a corner 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 run. The Trojans were within 33-30 with 2:57 left in the third.
In all, LH went on a 14-2 run in the third quarter to get back in it. The Trojans got as close as two with a Voisine leaner in the lane with 15 seconds to go. Xavier responded with a put-back by Gazzillo to hold a 37-33 edge after three quarters.
The Falcons became much more patient with their offensive sets in the second half, with several possessions milking as much as a minute off the clock. They were making them count, shooting 4-for-6 from the floor in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. Nicholas Beaulieu (8 points) had two of those buckets to start the final frame.
O’Reardon kept the Trojans within striking distance until a steal by Beaulieu set up an uncontested layup by Menard. After a missed LH shot, Menard canned a deep 3-pointer from near center court, which proved to be the dagger, putting the Falcons back up double digits, 50-40, with 2:21 to go.
Voisine did hit a late 3-pointer to cut the deficit to six, but the Trojans couldn’t get any closer.
“This is the toughest team we’ve played,” Voisine said. “They did a good job and have good players. We did all we could.”
Xavier’s lone defeat was against Notre Dame-West Haven. Wallingford resident Parker Hunter added 12 points for Xavier.
The defeat snapped Lyman Hall’s longest winning streak in basketball in 10 years. The 2010-11 Trojans ripped off eight in a row.
The Trojans have already matched their win total from last year and are off to the program’s best start in a decade.
“These guys worked hard and it’s very difficult to go undefeated,” said LH coach Rob Ruys. “We are going to learn from this and we will just keep working.”
The LH boys won’t have to wait long to get back on track. They travel to Foran on Saturday.
“I think if we come out tomorrow like we have been, we can bounce back,” Voisine said.