Boys basketball: Townsend steps up on Senior Night

The Foran High boys basketball found itself chasing visiting Sheehan High from Wallingford for much of their SCC regular-season finale at the Edna Fraser Gymnasium. The Titans took a 54-43 lead with three minutes left and then held off the Lions to earn a 56-53 victory.

“We’ve had a few games where we were in a similar situation,” Foran head coach Tim Swaller said of his team’s 6-14 campaign.  I thought tonight we put ourselves in a hole in that fourth quarter. We did a great job of making a come back, just a play or two short.”

Three empty possessions hurt the Lions early in the final frame and Sheehan (6-13) went in front by double digits. Trading foul shots for baskets, Swaller’s crew climbed back in it with Mike Sciuto making a three, Zach Tavitian scoring on a putback and Brett Huber finishing off a baseline drive.

Jordan Townsend made four straight free throws to make it 57-56 with 19 seconds left. Sheehan’s Nolan Cloutier made a pair from the line and Foran had a shot to tie at the buzzer’s but Matt Krempa’s 3-pointer was off the mark.

The Lions were 14-for-26 from the foul line.

“At the free throw line we’ve been inconsistent,” Swaller said. “Tonight we did not shoot well. We’ve had games where we’ve shot very well and others where we did not shoot well enough. Playing with some energy we made a couple plays, made a couple steals. Down eight, nine expends a lot of energy coming back.

With 32 teams needed to fill the state bracket, Foran was hoping a win over Sheehan after the win over the Easties and a lot of help might extend its season.

“We fought like we were playing for a playoff spot,” Swaller said. “We were coming off a big win over East Haven. It was similar game back and forth. Jordan hit a very tough shot to win that game. We made our free throws and took care of the ball.”

In that 65-62 win, Townsend scored 19 points. J.T. Lanese had three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points. Huber scored 12 points and Tavitian eight.

East Haven was led by Nick Durso, who scored 26 points.

Townsend and five cheerleaders were honored before the game as outgoing seniors.

“I thought Jordan played at a high level, been aggressive when we needed him to be aggressive and making shots,” Swaller said. “He played like a senior who was fighting to get into the postseason. He’s a very good player, tonight and again last Tuesday he really showed that. Jordan made a ton of plays for us offensively and defensively.”

Sheehan took an 18-11 lead after one quarter behind Eli Dyer’s 10 points. Townsend had seven points and two assists in the period to help the Lions come back from a 5-0 deficit.

Tavitian scored seven points for Foran in the second stanza, including a free throw to create the game’s third tie at 25 heading into the half. Tavitian’s basket to open the third quarter off an assist from Huber gave Foran its first lead.

Tavitian’s dunk on a breakaway pass from Sciuto made it 35-33 and the junior had another jam after Lanese went to the floor and tipped him a loose ball.

Krempa’s 3-pointer took the score to 40-36, before Sheehan tallied back to tie on Matt Ottachian’s bank shot.

Sheehan was led by Dyer (14 points) and nine points each from Ottochian, Trevor Biel and Brett Gill. The Titans made 9-of-11 free throws.

Tavitian finished with 21 points and Townsend had 18.