WALLINGFORD — Sheehan’s standout center Darla Jagrosse was bottled up for three points and a rebound in the first half of Thursday’s SCC Housatonic basketball showdown with Cheshire.
Then came the second half.
Jagrosse broke out and led the Titans to a great second half in a 59-45 victory over the Rams.
Jagrosse and second-year point guard Liv Cassesse both had 20-point performances for the Titans.
“I was a bit behind in the first half,” Jagrosse said. “We talked about having more energy on the pitch and how to get the ball to me. It’s great to be 9-5 this season.”
Score production for Cassesse was a career high.
“It was great to have reached a career high tonight,” Cassesse said. “We really wanted this game after losing to them the first time around.”
Sheehan’s coach Mike Busillo said Cassesse has a goalscoring mentality.
“She does a great job of scoring points,” Busillo said. “She has a great sense of herself. She’s played all but two minutes in the last three games. She leads the team in minutes this year.”
Madison DiPasquale added 10 points for the Titans (9-5, 1-4, Housy).
Cheshire (6-6, 2-2 Housy) was paced by Grace Lurz’s 20 points. Amelia Perlini added 12 for the Rams.
It was the Rams who won the first meeting between the two teams earlier this month, 49-30, in Cheshire. It was Cheshire’s first victory over Sheehan since 2016.
The Titans were without Jagrosse that night. The eldest missed two weeks with an ankle injury.
On Thursday, opponents SCC Housatonic were tied 20-20 at halftime. The biggest split up to that point was four points.
Lurz started the game with a successful 3-ball on Cheshire’s first shot attempt of the game. It set the tone for a big game for the senior, who had 10 points at the break.
Cheshire led 9-5 after the first quarter. Neither team lit it from the field. Sheehan was 2 for 13 and Cheshire 2 for 9 in the first quarter.
Sheehan never led until the 2:42 point of the second quarter, when Cassesse drained a 3-pointer that put Sheehan ahead 16-14.
Cassesse’s trey came just a minute after DiPasquale hit one to tie the game, 13-13.
Cassesse canned two out of three from the charity strip to help Sheehan take their biggest first-half lead, 20-16.
Cheshire tied 20-20 in the final 40 seconds with a lay-up from Ella Kulas and a pair of free-throws from Perlini.
The Rams were hurt by 14 turnovers in the half. Sheehan had nine. Sheehan was also just 2 for 7 from the foul line in the opening 16 minutes. Cheshire were 9 for 13.
“I thought Cheshire played stronger than us in the first half,” Busillo said. “They were more physical than us. We tried to get the energy up in the second half and that helped everyone relax a bit.
Sheehan came out hot in the second half, making an immediate 15-6 run. Sheehan went inside Jagrosse for the opening possessions, and Cassesse and Molly Smolenski (5 points) had 3 in the run as Sheehan went up 35-26.
Perlini got hot for the Rams, scoring Cheshire’s last 10 points from third. She capped off the stanza by sliding a sweater just inside the arc as time expired. Sheehan led 41-36 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter was all Sheehan. Jagrosse, in his third game back from injury, had 10 points in the frame as Sheehan went on a 14-2 run to come back 55-40 after Lurz opened the quarter with a bucket for Cheshire.
Cheshire coach Angelica Ariola said Sheehan was difficult to play against, especially at full strength.
“They’re a really powerful team,” Ariola said. “They stuck to their game plan and did a great job. We had some foul issues tonight and were without one of our starters (Tess Givens).
“The kids came out and made a statement this year and made all the games competitive,” Ariola added.
Busillo said his former assistant at Sheehan was doing well at Cheshire.
“Angelica is doing a great job,” Busillo said. “They booed us the first time and tonight they made it very difficult for us and hopefully that will make us better.”
Sheehan was coming off a 55-43 win over East Haven. The victory was the 200th of Busillo’s career.
“I was lucky enough to coach some really good girls,” Busillo said. “We have a good program, but there is no good program without good children. You will not win matches. Anyone who has stayed away knows that it all depends on the players.
“I have been lucky with children who have agreed to be coached by me. Sometimes I can be demanding and boring.