RIVALRY BASKETBALL: Sheehan girls ride frontcourt to season sweep of Lyman Hall

RIVALRY BASKETBALL: Sheehan girls ride frontcourt to season sweep of Lyman Hall

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WALLINGFORD — The potent Sheehan post duo of Caitlyn Hunt and Maddi Larkin was dominant in a 51-37 SCC girls basketball rivalry victory over Lyman Hall on Friday night.

Hunt poured in a game-high 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Larkin registered 18 points and garnered a career-high 15 boards as the Sheehan forwards feasted in the first game of the second Wallingford twinbill of the season, this one on the Lyman Hall floor.

The win completed a season sweep for the 10-3 Lady Titans, who had defeated their crosstown rivals 40-37 on Jan. 3 at Sheehan. Lyman Hall slipped to 8-5.

“I thought we showed that we can be a really good defensive team at times,” Sheehan coach Mike Busillo said. “We rebounded as well as we had all year, as we did a few games back against Hand. We know Lyman Hall has been putting points on the board lately and we wanted to keep them under 40 points and we accomplished that.”

The difference on the glass was stark. Sheehan out-rebounded Lyman Hall 36-17.

“Rebounding has been the main focus of the last few practices,” Larkin said. “It was the main focus for the team tonight and it showed. As soon as that ball went up, we went for it.”

On the scoreboard, the Titans held a 29-15 advantage at the half. Sheehan exploited its inside advantage. Hunt had 13 points at the half — 10 in the second quarter. Larkin had 10 points and eight boards at the break.

“Larkin was great tonight,” Busillo said. “I would like to say that I’m surprised, but I know she has games like this in her. With her being a senior, this may be her last game against Lyman Hall. I know she wanted this win bad.”

Sheehan out-rebounded Lyman Hall 20-9 in the first half. The Titans also shot 10-for-32 over the first 16 minutes, with all of their made shots coming in the paint.

Caroline Dighello (6 points) accounted for the two 3-pointers of the game for Sheehan. Both came in the second half.

“We wanted to take our time and make shots,” Hunt said. “We came together as a team. Everyone did their part and contributed to this win.”

Lyman Hall’s Bri Mik had 10 of her team-high 12 points in the first half, but the Trojans came out cold on offense. They were just 5-for-26 from the field in the first half.

“We knew coming in we had to make outside shots to win,” Lyman Hall coach Tom Lipka said. “Their size makes it hard to score inside. We had some decent looks from the perimeter, but we couldn’t get anything to drop until the fourth quarter.

“Hunt and Larkin really hurt us tonight. They are a good, well-balanced team.”

The Titans extended the lead in the opening two minutes of the second quarter by making their first three shots of the frame. Larkin opened it with a deuce and Hunt connected on back-to-back buckets for a 19-7 advantage.

“We play a little more of an old-school style,” Busillo said. “We are like dinosaurs. We get the ball inside and it was good enough tonight.”

The Trojans made a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter to close within 45-34, but Sheehan countered with a 6-0 run to close the game out.

“We couldn’t get it under 10,” Lipka said. “They did a great job not turning the ball over. We pressed them full court and they handled the pressure well.”

Lyman Hall had won six of its last seven. That one loss was to Sheehan.

Julia Capello and Natalie Panagrosso each had nine-point nights for the Trojans on Friday. Hailey Bruneau added seven points and five blocks.

The game was a “Pink Game” for cancer awareness. Also, Lyman Hall’s Unified basketball team played a 15-minute contest between the boys and girls games and thrilled the crowd.