BOYS BASKETBALL: With big man in foul trouble, Pabon & Titans step up to rally past Trojans

WALLINGFORD — Sheehan used a big second half and big performance by senior forward Ethan Pabon to earn a season sweep of rival Lyman Hall on the Trojans’ home floor on Friday night.

Sheehan overcame a halftime deficit to earn a 64-40 win. Pabon had a career-high 21 points, including 10 straight spanning the late third quarter into the fourth.

“I was just in the right spots at the right time,” Pabon said. “It felt amazing; it felt like a dream. It made the hairs on my arms stick up all game.”

Alex Morales added 12 points as Sheehan improved to 4-6 and knocked LH to 2-8.

The Titans also had a big second half in the first meeting when they defeated Lyman Hall 69-48 at home on Dec. 21.

“We finally woke up in the second half,” Pabon said. “The first half we were almost asleep. It’s almost like we were satisfied. We came out in the second half with good energy. Our bench was giving us great energy all night.”

The Trojans led 9-7 after the first quarter in a limited-possession, defensive-minded stanza. Both teams primarily played zone defense. Sheehan shot 3-for-10 in the quarter. LH was 3-for-8. Both teams had three turnovers.

A big development in the first quarter was Sheehan’s 6-foot-4 senior and leading scorer Kyron Coviello picking up his second foul of the game with 4:03 to go in the opening stanza.

Lyman Hall’s Justin Hackett (13 points, 11 rebounds) got off to a hot start with the first five points for the Trojans. Brady Campbell (12 points) knocked down a pair of free throws with 1:11 to go in the first quarter to give the hosts the 9-7 advantage after one quarter.

Lyman Hall took its biggest lead of the first half, 22-14 thanks to a 7-0 run in the second quarter. Campbell had a driving layup, Drew Mik drilled a corner 3-pointer and Naz Medina added a fadeaway jumper.

Sheehan ended the quarter on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 22-20 by the break. Pabon hit a layup and Chase St. Amant provided the last four points of the half for the visitors.

With Coviello on the pine with foul trouble, Hackett cleaned up on the boards in the first half with seven rebounds.

Sheehan started the second half on a 10-2 run as its full-court defensive pressure started to pay dividends. Lyman Hall had turnovers on four straight possessions.

Again, the Titans did it without Coviello, who picked up his third foul at the 7:19 mark of the third quarter after sitting the final 12:03 of the first half. Coviello later picked up his fourth personal with 57 seconds left in the third.

Pabon did fine in his stead with 13 points after three quarters. His 10 straight points helped the Titans open up a 45-33 lead with 6:30 to go in the fourth.

Sheehan held Lyman Hall without a field goal for the first 3:22 of the final frame to go up 50-35 and the Titans continued to pull away.

“None of us were happy with the first half,” Sheehan coach Joe Gaetano said. “I thought Lyman Hall played really well in the first half and, in the second half, I urged our guys to get after it. Ethan stepped up for us, but we played 10 tonight and we got contributions up and down the lineup, and the result was what we wanted.

“Our defense helped us,” Gaetano added. “We got steal after steal and that’s when we are at our best.”

Lyman Hall coach Rob Ruys said his team didn’t shoot well enough from the field and from the line to win.

“It was rough,” Ruys said. “I thought we played a good first half. We executed the way we wanted. We wanted to attack Ky and get him in foul trouble, and we were able to do that.

“Overall, I thought the guys played well, but Sheehan sped us up. They are aggressive. They got us playing they way they wanted to play in the second half. We had to make shots to stay in it and we didn’t make enough shots.”


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