East Haven High girls basketball coach Anthony Russell put his team in high gear in the teams’ Southern Connecticut Conference non-divisional game against Foran Hig on Dec. 12.

And it turned out to be a long night for the Lions and first-year coach Stephanie Hiriak, as the Easties rolled to a 45-28 victory on the strength of 22 steals and 33 turnovers by Foran.

The win brought East Haven’s record to 2-0 while Foran, 0-1, had its first SCC encounter with newcomer Lauralton Hall last Tuesday night.

Foran managed to keep it close in the opening quarter and had leads of 2-0, 3-2 and 6-5 before East Haven kicked it up another notch and led, 17-10, at the quarter’s end. The Easties’ full-court pressure defense allowed them to go on a 11-4 run.

“It was a difficult start for us and we never really recovered after that,” said Hiriak, a former SCC player at Sheehan in Wallingford, who went on to play at Southern Connecticut State University and was a member of its NCAA Division II national championship team in 2007.

She was an assistant coach at the University of Bridgeport before replacing Scott Nails at Foran.

“We weren’t getting any offensive rebounds early and we had a hard time handling their pressure,” Hiriak said.

Down by seven entering the second quarter, the Lions were outscored 14-5 and trailed 31-15 by halftime.

Foran then fell behind 42-17 with a little over a minute to play in the third quarter.

“When our press is working, we can make it difficult for an opponent,” Russell said. “Our defense makes our offense work well, although we didn’t shoot the ball that well tonight. And our positioning on offense needs to get better.”

The Lions actually had a better field-goal shooting percentage than East Haven by a 28 to 26 percent margin. The Easties knocked down only 16 of 64 shots while Foran was 9-for-32.

Jenna Zacarelli scored seven points, Jessica McQuade and Lindsay Broderick split 12 points, Lauren Notholt had five and Jade Lord tossed in a bucket.

McQuade knocked down a 3-pointer and Zacarelli was 5-for-7 from the free throw line.

The high number of missed shots created lots of rebounding chances where Foran, behind eight rebounds from Lord and six from Notholt, held a 50-46 margin.

“We’re young, but I think as the season goes on we’re going to get better,” Hiriak said. “Very few of these kids had any varsity experience last year. Just about all of them are up from the jayvee squad.”

That showed in the turnover department where the Easties had only 12 and Foran wound up with 33.