Resiliency is one of the stronger points for the Foran High boys basketball team.
Coach Ian Kirkpatrick has watched his team battle its way along, collect enough wins (eight) to qualify for postseason play for the first time in five years.
After a loss 48-37 loss last Wednesday to West Haven, which came two days after a defeat in New Haven to Career Magnet, Kirkpatrick couldn’t stress the resiliency point strongly enough.
“We just have to move forward,” Kirkpatrick said. “We need to put this game behind us; get back in the gym for practice and correct our mistakes.”
Foran will host Shelton tonight (Feb. 8) before continuing its city rivalry next Monday at Law.
The Lions saw their record even at 8-8 following the Southern Connecticut Conference loss to the Westies, who like Foran, are searching for wins. At 6-9, West Haven still needs a pair to extend its season.
On this night, Foran was simply unable to contain the Blue Devils long-range perimeter game. West Haven made nine 3-pointers overall and never let the Lions get closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter.
“I thought that West Haven gave us some good looks on our shots, “Kirkpatrick said. “Whether we created them or they didn’t cover well enough isn’t important right now. We didn’t knock down enough of them from the field (Foran was 15-of 57 for only a 26 percent average) to stay in the game. You can’t do that and expect to beat a team like West Haven.”
The win gave West Haven a sweep of the two-game series. The Blue Devils took an earlier in the season 72-58 decision at West haven.
“We’re in a race to qualify for the state tournament, ” said West Haven coach Stan Chambers. “It was nice to come down here to Milford tonight and get a win. I thought we played well on defense, put enough pressure on them with our full-court zone press (1-3-1) and disrupted their shooting patterns.”
West Haven made 6-of-9 treys in the first half, taking a 16-10 lead at quarter’s end and a 25-12 margin into halftime. Foran was 1-of-13 from the field in the second quarter, where it managed only two points.
The Lions were able to shave the Westies lead to nine twice in the third quarter. Sophomore guard John Shannon’s basket cut West Haven’s margin to 27-18 on the tail end of a 6-0 run. After the Blue Devils pushed it out to 30-18, Matt Cruz hit a field goal and followed it up with a free throw making it a 30-21 game.
West Haven would eventually stretch it to 35-21 before another Shannon basket made it 35-23 after three.
Cruz led the way with 15 points. Shannon had nine and Todd Gentley chipped in with six and 10 of Foran’s 38 rebounds. Cruz had 12 rebounds and Shannon added six.
West Haven put three players in double-digits, led by Marquel Bookert and Josiah Steinman with 12 each. Jamal Pate had 10. Bookert had four threes and his team picked up nine assists off of its 18 field goals.