BOYS BASKETBALL: The one after 999: Sheehan’s McDonnell left on doorstep of milestone

BOYS BASKETBALL: The one after 999: Sheehan’s McDonnell left on doorstep of milestone

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WALLINGFORD — Sheehan senior Jack McDonnell’s quest for 1,000 points will have to wait one more game as the Titans’ leading scorer finished with a team-high 19 points in a 59-37 SCC loss to Jonathan Law on Saturday night. 

That put McDonnell’s career total at 999 heading into Monday night’s rivaly game at Lyman Hall.

On Saturday night, the only drama was whether the fourth-year Sheehan starter would reach the milestone. The Lawmen made quick work of the Titans with a huge first half. They mounted a 7-0 run to start the game and added a 9-0 spurt before finishing the half on a 13-2 push that made it 35-16 at the break.

It was a start of a frustrating night for Sheehan.

“I don’t know where we were tonight,” Sheehan coach Joe Gaetano said. “We had a great week of practice and, tonight, we forgot everything we were supposed to do. But take nothing away from Jonathan Law. They played a great basketball game.”

James Marino and Jake Faller had nine points apiece for the visitors at the break. Marino and Noah Tutlis both finished with a team-high 11.

The Titans never led. After a McDonnell drive with 2:17 left in the first quarter, the Lawmen finished the first half with a 25-8 spurt. The visitors feasted on the boards and struck on every Sheehan miscue.

McDonnell had all of Sheehan’s eight points in the first quarter and had two points in the second quarter, while being face-guarded the entire eight minutes.

The Suffolk University-bound McDonnell made two 3-pointers in the closing two minutes to get within four points of the milestone. The 6-foot-2 forward added three free throws in the fourth quarter.

McDonnell had a chance to hit 1,000 while at the line, but back-rimmed a free throw with 2:41 left on the clock. In the closing seconds, he took a shot while swarmed by three defenders.

McDonnell said he thought about the milestone too much on Saturday.

“The way I played was out of character and that’s on me,” McDonnell said. “The milestone is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and, in retrospect, I wouldn't have wanted to get it tonight because of the scoreboard.”

Sheehan junior Kyron Coviello was Sheehan’s second leading scorer with eight points.

Law, on the other hand, had a very balanced attack behind Tutlis and Marino. Feller and John Neider had nine apiece. Daniel Maxwell (8 points) and Brian Felog (7) rounded out the Milford school’s scoring leaders.

“Our guys play extremely hard,” Law coach Jamie Anderson said. “Sheehan has a really good team every single year and we matched up really well with them size-wise, and our defense was really outstanding tonight.”

The Lawmen switched a lot on their man-to-man defense and maintained their assignments.

“They weren’t selfish: That was the biggest thing,” Anderson said. “It was the defensive side of the ball that carried us tonight.

“We matured a lot tonight,” the Law coach added. “The season’s short, but this couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Both teams are now 2-2.

It was Senior Night for the Titans. McDonnell and fellow senior Siville Bowleg were honored before the game. McDonnell’s younger sister Mae sang the National Anthem.

Sheehan is back on the floor again on Monday at Lyman Hall at 7 p.m.

“We will be in the gym (Sunday) and we will be practice to go over what we need to do,” Gaetano said. “We have three games next week and we have to get ready for them in one day. We aren’t as bad as we played tonight and, hopefully, we got that monkey off our back.”

McDonnell’s status may be in question for Monday due to injury, but the senior said he will play. He remained on the ground holding his left leg following the final shot of the night and was helped off the court.

“I plan on playing,” McDonnell said. “I wouldn’t want to miss that game.”

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