Boys basketball: West Haven ends Law's unbeaten start

Jonathan Law’s unbeaten start to the season was halted on Friday night by West Haven in a Southern Connecticut Conference slugfest.

The Blue Devils seized control of the game early on, then fought off a furious Lawmen rally to secure a 62-59 win at the James J. Richetelli Sr. Gymnasium.

It was a rugged affair that saw the teams combine for 48 fouls, but Law put itself in position to win or tie a game it trailed by eight points with 3:14 left to play.

“There is no quit whatsoever,” Law head coach Jamie Anderson said. “They go and go and go.”

Despite missing 0-for-6 shots from the foul line during that three-minute span, including a pair of misses with 30 seconds remaining with the locals down one, Law did not panic.

After Malcolm Duncanson connected on both ends of a one-and-one to extend West Haven’s lead to 62-59, Law took over possession with 21.2 seconds left. Diontae Eady misfired on a 3-pointer from the top of the key. However, the rebound was knocked out of bounds at half court by West Haven’s Mufee Cooper, giving Law another chance.

The Lawmen inbounded again with 5.6 seconds left, but this time Jon Vitale could not get off a corner 3-pointer and Law fell to 11-1 overall.

“The game was scrappy both ways… It was just a really hard-fought game,” Anderson said.

Quannel Straugher poured in a game-high 26 points for the Westies, while Cooper added 15 points.

Antonio Brown ignited Law off the bench with 18 points. Eady chipped in with 13 points, Vitale had 11 and Zane Birks scored 10.

Brown knocked down 11 of his markers in the first half, helping the Lawmen briefly regain the lead after falling behind by 11 points early in the second quarter.

Duncanson’s free throws pushed the Westies’ margin to 21-10, its largest of the game, before Brown converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 7:15 remaining in the second quarter.

That ignited a 12-3 Lawmen run, capped by Eady’s 18-footer, to put Law ahead 25-24.

Straugher countered with a 3-pointer from the corner on the other end to put West Haven back on top with 2:13 left in the half. From there, West Haven held the lead for the rest of the game.

Behind a stout ball pressure, the Blue Devils (8-5) created enough defensive havoc to limit the Lawmen to just five field goals in the fourth quarter.

“They have a great set of guards,” Anderson said. “They put some pressure on us defensively… They made some smart plays.”

Law also made just 5-of-14 from the foul line.

After sustaining their first defeat of the season, the Lawmen will look to return to their winning ways on Monday, when they travel to East Haven (4-8) for 7 p.m. tip.

“These guys are resilient,” Anderson said. “They’re ready to go tomorrow and get back at it… They’re competitors.”